Community Foundation Celebrates Greater Good at 14th Annual Luncheon

The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (CFGD) celebrated a successful year of community impact with donors and community partners at its 14th annual donor luncheon on Thursday, September 29, at the Dubuque Golf and Country Club.

The event celebrated many successes, including the Vision To Learn pilot program, which brought a mobile vision clinic to eight Title I schools in Dubuque and Jackson Counties. The clinic provided free eye exams to nearly 180 students. Just a few weeks later, 90 children each received two free pairs of glasses—one to keep at school and one for home. The program, aimed at addressing the barriers that many low-income children face in getting the vision care they need, will be expanding this fall to serve 45 schools and as many as 2,000 kids. It was made possible thanks to partnerships with Theisen’s Home*Farm*Auto; Vision To Learn, a national nonprofit; and the Community Foundation of Jackson County.

“The Community Foundation connects donors to causes they care about and helps local nonprofits to build capacity; we also serve as a convener and catalyst that brings partners together to address complex local and regional challenges,” said Nancy Van Milligen. “This year, we are celebrating many successes made possible by generous community members and partners coming together to create greater good.”

The Foundation also shared its 2016 annual report with the community. Northeast Iowa donors, nonprofits and businesses have created nearly 800 funds at the Foundation, growing total assets to more than $66 million. Last year alone, the Foundation made 2,203 grants totaling $7 million.

CFGD also welcomed two new rural affiliate foundations this year. In addition to six rural affiliates in Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Jackson and Jones Counties and the Dyersville area, LincolnWay and River Bluff community foundations in Clinton County recently joined the Foundation’s affiliate family. Together, CFGD affiliate foundations support 303 funds totaling more than $19 million, which benefit rural libraries, hospitals, scholarship programs and other vital causes throughout the region.

The event honored several donors and supporters of philanthropy, including Charlie Becker, members of the Foundation’s Women’s Giving Circle, and Bob and Marilyn Hoefer. CFGD Director of Affiliates MJ Smith also recognized leaders from the Foundation’s rural affiliate foundations.

Van Milligen recognized three new Legacy Society inductees: Barry and Mary Lammer Pickart; Roy Blair and Susi Nehls; and Sharon Tinker. In 2013, the Foundation established the Legacy Society to honor donors who have made bequests to the Foundation.

New Endowment Society members were also recognized. These individuals, couples, families and businesses have established endowment funds and contributed $10,000 or more to those funds during their lifetimes. A full list of Legacy Society and Endowment Society honorees is available online at

Community foundations are charitable organizations that administer funds to benefit their communities and improve the lives of people in their geographic region. Nonprofit organizations and community members can create endowment funds at CFGD to benefit charitable causes. These funds are invested and pay out five percent annually to the designated nonprofits, providing a reliable source of income to sustain organizations’ operations forever.

Gifts to endowment funds at the Community Foundation are eligible for the Endow Iowa 25 Percent State Tax Credit. Community members can contribute to nearly 600 endowment funds established for nonprofits throughout Northeast Iowa, which provide sustainable sources of income for these essential community service organizations.

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Jeff Danna
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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.