Grants give $30,000 boost to youth initiatives, Caregiver Center

Nearly $30,000 in grants will support educational opportunities for Dubuque’s youth and a new caregiver resource center thanks to the McDonough Foundation, which honors the lives of Melita and James McDonough through annual grantmaking. Funding from the McDonough Foundation has been awarded to five Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque initiatives and partner organizations. 

“We and our partners are committed to building a Dubuque region where everyone has access to opportunities that support them at all stages of life,” says Paul Duster, the Community Foundation’s director of community initiatives. “These generous grants from the McDonough Foundation will fund programs that are key parts of that vision.”  

Dubuque College Access Network (DCAN): DCAN received $2,000 to support its mini-grant program for the “hidden expenses” of post-high school education and career prep. Recent graduates can apply for small grants to help cover the cost of necessities like textbooks, digital devices or on-the-job training tools. 

“DCAN works to help students discover their post-secondary path, lifting up opportunities for first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color who might be facing barriers,” says Donna Loewen, DCAN coordinator. “It has been harder than ever for families to afford the essentials.”

Last year, 20 students applied for $1,000 in mini-grants and seven were funded. Thanks to the support from the McDonough Foundation, DCAN has capacity to award three times as much money this year. For more information, contact Loewen at donna@dbqfoundation.org or 563-588-2700.

Foundation for Dubuque Public Schools (FDPS): FDPS was awarded $9,576 to purchase books for each K-3 classroom in the Dubuque Community School District – about 3,200 students – enhancing the social studies curriculum through storytelling. 

“Children’s literature is often an unexplored option in the social studies curriculum, yet research shows that good books can give children personal connections to the topic being studied,” says Amy Unmacht, executive director of FDPS. “Information found within the pages of a good book, whether fiction or nonfiction, can transport readers or listeners to another time, place or situation, which is especially helpful with social studies.” Email amyu@dbqfoundation.org or call 563-588-2700 to learn more. 

Restorative Strategies: The McDonough Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to Restorative Strategies, an alternative diversion program to the juvenile justice system that’s helping set Dubuque County teens on a path to future success as productive citizens. With a focus on middle and high school-age youth, Restorative Strategies is a collaboration among civic institutions, service providers and volunteers that addresses accountability for crimes committed, reparation, reconciliation and, ultimately, reintegration with the community.

The program gives youth a mechanism for peaceful interaction through dialogue, rather than punitive consequences, in order to solve a conflict. By providing a chance for youth responsible for committing harm to meet face-to-face with those impacted, the program fosters conversations and opportunities for youth to learn from their actions. 

Since October 2019, five volunteer facilitators with the program have completed the restorative process with 65 youth. For more information, contact Jim Jelinske at 563-543-8997 or jimjelinske@gmail.com. Of those youth, only three have reoffended as of June 2021.

Caregiver Resource Center: A grant for $5,000 was also awarded to support development of the new Dubuque Caregiver Resource Center, a place where non-professionals who care for loved ones with chronic illnesses will be able to go to learn, make connections, unwind and take care of themselves. Most  resources will be available at no cost in the interest of supporting caregivers. Jim Theisen and family are leading the project, which will be located at Stonehill Communities, with support from the Community Foundation. For more information, contact Shirley Templeton Vaughn, project coordinator, at shirley@dbqfoundation.org or 563-588-2700. 2 

Jackson County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading: Funding in the amount of $2,500 from the McDonough Foundation will support the Jackson County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading 202Summer Adventure program, with sites in Andrew, Bellevue, Easton Valley and Maquoketa. The Campaign focuses on school attendance, reading readiness and summer learning, addressing several of those goals through Summer Adventure. For this program, teachers target students who may benefit most from the extra academic boost. During the three- and four-week sessions, students spend the the mornings on academic lessons. Thanks to partnerships with local organizations like the YMCA or Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, in the afternoons students enjoy STEM projects, kayaking and canoeing, field trips to nature centers and parks, swimming, art lessons and yoga. Read about this year's program

The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque envisions a vibrant and inclusive Dubuque region where everyone can thrive. Making connections between community partners and acting as the backbone organization for initiatives that support academic achievement, economic opportunity, and equity and inclusion are ways the Foundation works toward realizing this vision. 

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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.