Community Foundation Endowments: Empowering Nonprofits, Empowering People
Since moving from Ukraine to be near her daughter in Dubuque, Inna Strebkova has faced a lot of challenges. But thanks to Presentation Lantern Center, she is learning English and hopes to pass the U.S. citizenship test soon.
“You have lots of stress with new country, new friends, new people, new job, new language—this is a lot,” says Inna. “This center helps me.”
Presentation Lantern assists immigrants with educational opportunities and advocacy.
Since opening in 2002, the center has helped 66 people receive U.S. citizenship.
“As citizens, they can travel with a U.S. passport, be eligible for some government jobs, and be eligible to sponsor other family members,” says Executive Director Sr. Corine Murray. “For some, the path to citizenship opens the door for family reunification.”
Inna hopes that her efforts will one day safely reunite her with her family in Ukraine.
“I have a younger daughter, my father, and grandson in Ukraine now,” says Inna. “We have a very scary situation with Russia in Ukraine; we worry about family.”
Presentation Lantern is one of 200 Northeast Iowa nonprofits that relies on earnings from an endowment fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (CFGD) for a reliable and sustainable source of income.
“To have the endowment set aside for additional things is wonderful,” says Sr. Corine. “To have that endowment generate funds to further our mission is a great gift to us.”
This year, nonprofits received more than $1.8 million in payouts from Community Foundation funds. Nonprofit organizations and community members can create endowment funds at CFGD to benefit charitable causes. These funds are invested and pay out 5% annually to the designated nonprofits, providing a reliable source of income to sustain organizations’ operations forever. Any earnings beyond the 5% are reinvested.
Donors who give to endowments through a community foundation also benefit from the Endow Iowa 25% State Tax Credit in addition to federal charitable income tax deductions.
“These funds help to diversify nonprofits’ funding and make their operations secure so they can continue to provide a critical safety net and enrich life in our community forever,” said Nancy Van Milligen, CFGD president and CEO. “Each fund is unique and the payouts fund everything from special projects to facility repairs and general operations.”
Since the Foundation’s inception in 2002, more than 7,500 community members have made donations or created funds at CFGD. As the largest annual grantmaker in the greater Dubuque region, the Foundation has made a total of $23.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, including $4.7 million last year alone. The Foundation is also a community leadership organization, bringing people and institutions together to create long-term solutions to community challenges through initiatives like Project HOPE (workforce and unemployment), Every Child/Every Promise (youth and families) and Inclusive Dubuque (equity and diversity).
"CFGD is a relatively young foundation but it has grown at an astonishing pace and is a leader in its field in terms of community impact,” says Brian Kane, chair of the CFGD Board of Directors. “This success speaks to the generosity of community members and the commitment of local nonprofits, both of which make it possible for the Foundation to provide the leadership and nonprofit support essential for the future of our region.”
“Our exceptional growth and impact would not be possible without strong investment returns and the continued support of long-time donors and new rural affiliate foundations,” adds Van Milligen. “Every day, we are working to learn more about the needs of our community so people can give with meaning and impact.”