Alma Mariano: The “Best Kept Secret” in Clinton County

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to present the Clinton YWCA with a $1,225 check made possible by a distribution from one of the River Bluff Community Foundation’s (RBCF) endowment funds, the Dave H. Sivright Jr. Endowment.

Like all community foundations, RBCF helps citizens establish permanent funds for the good of their communities. Last spring, RBCF authorized $23,600 in endowment payouts generated by endowment funds established by donors and nonprofits in Clinton through RBCF.

Endowment funds are invested and pay out 5% annually to designated nonprofits. These annual payouts offer a reliable source of funding to help local nonprofits like the Clinton YWCA respond to emerging needs, as well as to plan for the future and sustain their good work. Donors who give to a Community Foundation endowment may also benefit from the Endow Iowa 25% State Tax Credit in addition to federal charitable income tax deductions.

This notion of people and organizations supporting the future of their communities is not a new one. A quick history lesson: in Cleveland, Ohio, banker Fredrick Goff established the first community foundation more than 100 years ago. Goff recognized the value of creating permanent endowment—a fund whose principal would remain intact and be invested to create a long-term source of income to benefit his community.

Goff established the Cleveland Foundation with a goal of pooling charitable resources of Cleveland’s philanthropists into a single, great, and permanent endowment for the betterment of the city. Today, more than 700 community foundations in the United States have leveraged more than $216 million in permanent endowment fund gifts to create lasting good for their communities and build on a strong tradition of neighbors helping neighbors.

It’s no secret that the people of Clinton, Iowa, care deeply about their community. We work hard, we support our neighbors, and we desire the same thing that many others in rural America desire: to know the future of our town is bright and filled with possibilities.

It may be a best kept secret to others, however, that the RBCF is at work here in our back yard connecting people to causes they love and preserving the futures of organizations that keep our town strong and thriving.

Community foundations help to build and strengthen communities like Clinton by bringing together people and organizations that want to make a difference in our hometowns. Our doors are always open to community members with ideas about how to improve life in our community and we hope will be inspired to join us in creating greater good today and for generations to come.

To learn more about the River Bluff Community Foundation, visit

Alma Mariano is the Philanthropy Coordinator at the River Bluff Community Foundation. She can be reached at or 563.249.3892.

River Bluff Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. To learn more, visit

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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. 

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