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Here for Good for Iowa Communities

November 12, 2021

The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa (CFNEIA) is celebrating National Community Foundation Week, November 12-18. The national effort raises awareness about the increasingly important role of these philanthropic organizations in fostering local collaboration and leadership to address persistent civic and economic challenges. As a local foundation, CFNEIA is uniquely situated to improve its region by enacting innovative solutions and creating powerful partnerships.

In 2021, the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa celebrated 65 years of enriching communities and has granted over $107 million since its founding. The Foundation is also the state’s largest independent scholarship provider in Iowa outside of colleges and universities, awarding over $500,000 in scholarships each year. These impacts are possible because generous people work with the Community Foundation to connect to causes they care about most. These charitable connections are often made through the establishment of endowed funds that create a legacy that will live forever through grantmaking to strengthen effective nonprofits. Dollars are invested and grow to produce even greater impacts carried out as the donor intended. CFNEIA currently holds over $138 million in total assets. As a nationally accredited community foundation, CFNEIA meets the highest standards in local giving.

CFNEIA is rooted in the Cedar Valley but impacts 20-counties, granting nearly $6.5 million in 2020 across its region. CFNEIA is the host foundation to 23 affiliate foundations. These volunteer-driven affiliates support local nonprofits helping communities continue to flourish and grow. Iowa is unique in that it has two legislated programs, the County Endowment Fund Program and Endow Iowa State Tax Credit, implemented through local community foundations, focused on increasing philanthropic activity to enhance the quality of life for Iowans.

CFNEIA also provides leadership as a convener and collaborator, igniting change that makes Iowa communities stronger, more inclusive places. In 2020, CFNEIA committed to advancing racial equity. Today, we are building it into the DNA of the organization to partner to make our communities places where everyone has an equitable opportunity to flourish. This includes putting a lens of equity on all aspects of our recently announced strategic plan. The plan focuses on four core areas including community leadership, transformational grantmaking, growing assets for impact and strengthening our organizational capacity. The plan continues the Foundation’s focus on strategic community initiative areas including addressing the child care crisis, enhancing the arts, building nonprofit capacity and improving workforce readiness.

None of the work CFNEIA does is possible without the generosity of people who love where they live. As we enter the giving season, millions of people will be looking to give back to the communities that have supported them. They’ll also look to ensure that their heartfelt giving—however they choose to give—will have the most impact. That’s why so many of them will choose to give to a community foundation.

Donors to CFNEIA are also eligible for the Endow Iowa State Tax Credit program, which provides a 25% state tax credit on gifts to endowed funds at an accredited community foundation. Since the program was launched in 2003, it has helped leverage $335 million in endowed gifts to support Iowa communities and charitable causes. Each year, $6 million in credits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to generous Iowans who participate in the program.

The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa is “here for good,” making impacts to create a better quality of life for Iowans today and for generations to come. Addressing critical needs can seem like a daunting task, but it’s one that we can all share. Thank you to all our partners who help create a vibrant region of thriving people. During Community Foundation Week, we hope you’ll join us in recognizing our collective impact and the difference we make together and consider joining forces with your local community foundation.

Click here to find and learn more about your local affiliate community foundation.