Disaster Recovery Fund / COVID-19 Response Fund: Support Your Neighbors and Friends

Our world — and our community — is in the midst of a crisis created by the COVID-19 outbreak. We have activated our Disaster Recovery Fund to enable a coordinated response and help people in the Dubuque region most impacted by the outbreak, including seniors and low-income residents.



As of December 23, 2020
Funds raised: $1.9 million
Grants made:
$1.3 million


The Disaster Recovery Fund is supported by generous community members, organizations and businesses including the Dubuque Racing Association and Dubuque Bank and Trust. 

As our community and its most vulnerable populations face the effects of COVID-19, this fund provides an opportunity for the public to give with the reassurance their donations will be deployed where they are most needed and to adapt to evolving needs, particularly those not being met by existing nonprofit, local, state and federal programs. 

The fund will use an efficient grant process to ensure dollars quickly reach nonprofits working with vulnerable populations.

The fund was created in partnership with the United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States and other local nonprofit and philanthropic organizations that have focused over the last year on developing a collective strategy for charitable giving during times of crisis.

The Community Foundation will administer grants with a grant committee that includes:

  • Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
  • United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States
  • DRA — Mike Donohue
  • Dubuque Initiatives — Doug Horstmann

The committee will help:

  • Identify potential grant recipients
  • Solicit guidance on potential recipients from community advisors
  • Recommend final grants

Click here to make your gift and impact those who need it most.

Organizations that would like to apply for grants can click here. Questions about grants for nonprofits can contact Peter Supple at peter@dbqfoundation.org or 563-588-2700.

What our grant recipients say:

"With Community Foundation funding, we have so far assisted 31 families who lost income during the pandemic stay in their homes. We are grateful to all the generous people who have helped."

Stacy Sherman, Outreach Director
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque

"Our Community Foundation grant has funded 375 telehealth counseling sessions. For some patients, their session is the only contact they have with someone all week. Anxiety is high and the urge to use drugs is constant. Thank you for everything you are doing for our community."

Debra Prier, Executive Director
Substance Abuse Services Center

"Pre-crisis, our Voucher Center and Food Pantry would serve 40 residents from the Ecumenical Towers community monthly. In mid-April, we provided food to nearly all 80 residents. This was possible thanks to the Community Foundation and the generous people who have given to the Disaster Recovery Fund."

Rick Merfeld, Executive Director
St. Vincent de Paul of Dubuque

Grants made to:

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dubuque
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque
City of Cascade
Clinton Clover Crates
Community Action of Eastern Iowa
Convivium Urban Farmstead
Dubuque Area Labor Harvest
Dubuque Community Schools Food & Nutrition
Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA
Dubuque Dream Center
Dubuque Food Pantry
Dubuque Main Street
Dubuque Rescue Mission
East Central Intergovernmental Corporation
Exceptional Persons, Inc. 
First Congregational Church
Foundation for Dubuque Public Schools
Friends of Paradise Church
Hillcrest Family Services
Iowa Legal Aid
Iowa State University Extension - Clinton County
Lord of Lutheran Church
Lutheran Services in Iowa
Mt. Pleasant Home
Opening Doors
Presentation Lantern Center
Project Rooted
Red Basket Project
Resources Unite
River Bend Foodbank
Rural Community Food Pantry
St. Mark Youth Enrichment
St. Vincent de Paul
Stonehill Franciscan Services
Substance Abuse Services Center
The Salvation Army - Dubuque
UnityPoint Health Visiting Nurses Association

Greater Dubuque Disaster Recovery Fund FAQs, RE: COVID-19 

Why was a Disaster Recovery Fund created? 

When a disaster happens, our community wants to help. The Greater Dubuque Disaster Recovery Fund was created to provide a collaborative option for donors to help address both immediate and long-term unmet needs that will arise during times of disaster. The intention of the DRF is to provide a nimble philanthropic fund for the Dubuque region in the face of uncertainty caused by disaster. It was created to supplement, not replace, existing resources and services provided by nonprofits and local, state and federal agencies. Each disaster is unique and unanticipated needs will arise. This fund is intended to be flexible and responsive in meeting needs that are not otherwise covered by existing programs.

Who created the fund? 

Over the last couple of years, local organizations have come together to explore a coordinated way to support our community in the face of disaster. Led by a core group of organizations — the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States, Dubuque County Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross of Northeast Iowa, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Operation: New View and UnityPoint Finley Visiting Nursing Association — a series of community conversations were held with nonprofits and other service providers to lay the groundwork for unforeseen challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the purpose of the fund? 

With the Disaster Recovery Fund, the Community Foundation will make grants focused on reducing the economic and health impacts on vulnerable populations prior to and following a disaster as well as long-term needs that may emerge. Grants will supplement, not replace, other resources like government support and relief efforts in cases of local disaster. Grants will fill gaps in services and needs that are not being met by existing nonprofit, local, state and federal resources and programs. 

How long will the fund be available/open? 

The Disaster Recovery Fund extends beyond a single disaster and is a key part of the community’s coordinated disaster response. Preparedness work will be continuous and ongoing. The fund is activated in times of local disaster, for example addressing the current COVID-19 response, as recommended by local emergency management authorities. 

How do you know the most important things to support? 

Every disaster can look different, with different impacts, different needs and different resources available for support. A team of community leaders and grantmakers will work together to identify recipients with deep roots in the community and experience to deliver support and services to vulnerable populations at moments of crisis. The funds will be used to support needs that are not being met through existing nonprofit, local, state and federal resources and programs. 

Who is giving guidance to the fund? 

The Disaster Recovery Fund is implemented by the Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) Long-Term Recovery Committee. The fund is held at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque on behalf of the community. 

How will grants be made? 

Grants will be provided to community-based organizations/service providers active in current response and/or preparation in the areas of economic and health impacts for vulnerable populations. Grants will be made only to cover needs that are not being met by existing local, state and federal resources and programs. Initial grants will be awarded outside of an application process to provide flexible support to trusted partners quickly and will be provided for direct client assistance and/or organization capacity needs due to demands of the disaster. The COAD Long-Term Recovery Committee will serve as the grantmaking committee for COVID-19. Additional members may join upon request. Grants from the the Disaster Recovery Fund may be awarded on a rolling basis as the Committee continues to assess the evolution of the disaster and community needs. 

How do nonprofits apply for support from the Disaster Recovery Fund? 

If you wish to apply for Disaster Recovery Fund grants, go to grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=dbqfoundation. Use access code COVID19. Contact Peter Supple with questions at peter@dbqfoundation.org or 563-588-2700.

How do community members stay informed? 

Nonprofits active in current response and/or preparation in the areas of economic and health impacts for vulnerable populations are encouraged to continue informing 2-1-1 of services. Providing updates in this way not only helps 2-1-1 accurately refer Northeastern Iowans to the services they need but also helps to inform the COAD Long-Term Recovery Committee of critical work happening on the ground in our community. In order to maintain the most up-to-date information regarding any changes to existing operations and service delivery, nonprofits are asked to send notification to Peter Supple at peter@dbqfoundation.org

How can I learn more about the fund?

Visit dbqfoundation.org/drf or contact the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque at 563-588-2700. If you are a nonprofit interested in applying for grants, visit dbqfoundation.org/recoverygrants to apply or contact Peter Supple with questions at peter@dbqfoundation.org or 563-588-2700.

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