Alma Mariano: River Bluff Community Foundation invests in future

“The trees I enjoy today were the results of someone’s efforts in the past.” — Dave Helscher, Founding President, River Bluff Community Foundation

As a gardener, Dave Helscher, senior vice president and trust officer at Clinton National Bank, appreciates that hard work can take many months to bear fruit. Likewise, when Helscher and local citizens came together in the late 1990s to create the River Bluff Community Foundation, they saw the value in creating an institution that would allow community members to invest in the future of their community.

As RBCF’s founding president, Helscher took this endeavor to heart. “The Foundation is a way for me to mark that I was here and this is what is important to me today and hopefully it’s important to somebody in the future,” he says.

What David is referring to is the ability to establish a legacy of giving back to one’s community through the River Bluff Community Foundation. Many share David’s vision of planting seeds and watching them grow into fine educational, cultural, and human endeavors that enhance people’s quality of life. Many are also not sure how to go about doing that in a way that supports various areas of interest rather than a limited area of interest.

By partnering with local community foundations, interested donors build endowments and make planned gifts to ensure the charitable causes they care about most deeply continue to thrive today, tomorrow and always. Community Foundations are nonprofit organizations that focus on building local philanthropy by connecting people to the causes that matter most to them. By working together, foundations and community members create long-term endowments that benefit local nonprofit agencies.

Last summer, River Bluff Community Foundation became an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. Since 2004, CFGD has supported the growth of affiliate foundations in rural communities throughout Northeast Iowa, including Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Jones and Jackson counties as well as the Dyersville area. By working with CFGD, these communities have built philanthropic funds in support of schools, churches, health care centers and other needs totaling more than $19 million.

“We have so much potential,” says board member Martha Bonte. “CFGD genuinely cares about this part of Iowa and is incredibly excited about what philanthropy could do in this region.”

CFGD will provide investment, accounting, grantmaking, training and administrative support and philanthropic expertise, allowing River Bluff’s local board to focus on setting priorities, attracting donors and supporting local nonprofit organizations.

“Through CFGD, we now have the skills and tools we need to take our efforts to the next level,” says Dave Pillers, RBCF president.

We are Clinton’s best kept secret and we are changing that with CFGD’s help.

If you would like to know more about Community Foundations, how you can get involved, the types of planned gifts and endowments available, the Endow Iowa Tax Credit, and how it all works, call 563.588.2700 or send an email to

Press Contact

Jeff Danna
Communications Manager

About Us
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque envisions a vibrant and inclusive Dubuque region where everyone can thrive. Since 2002, we have inspired people to give back to their community, and we turn this generosity into lasting change across our region, increasing access to resources and opportunities that help all people succeed. 

Connect with us to learn about the many ways we are building a strong, thriving Greater Dubuque for all.