A Blueprint for Change

When considering how to use her post-retirement time, Chris Corken had one condition: “I was only going to spend it on things I cared deeply about,” she says.

After learning about the Community Foundation’s initiative to improve access to brain health services, the career prosecutor, who served the Dubuque area for 30 years, knew she found a project worthy of her time.

That was in 2016, not long after the Foundation learned through a needs assessment that barriers to brain health care were impeding many Dubuque residents’ ability to thrive. 

“Throughout my career I saw how circumstances kept people from getting the help they needed and the frustration caused by a system that didn’t function the way it should,” she says.

Corken, already a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, jumped at the chance to be part of the solution. With deep knowledge of government, law enforcement and social services, she volunteered to help convene community leaders to address the problem.

Since Corken’s work began, significant progress has occurred, thanks also to a $50,000 Telligen Foundation grant. By connecting brain health providers and law enforcement, the foundation facilitated expansion of a “mobile crisis unit” that enables police to call for support from Hillcrest Family Services when they encounter someone having a brain health emergency.

Additionally, a new initiative helps people jailed for misdemeanors — and also diagnosed with brain health issues — move through the criminal justice system more quickly to ensure they remain connected with social safety net programs and other well-being resources upon release.

This work also led to the approval of a Dubuque County access center— one of six required statewide — to serve people with urgent brain health needs. 

Through her work, Corken hopes to inspire others, particularly “ordinary people” like herself, to support the Community Foundation’s work addressing emerging needs in the community.

“The Community Foundation is uniquely positioned to do systems change work,” she says. “We can forge partnerships among local leaders to find solutions to regional issues. That’s the blueprint for change.” 

Are you interested in supporting access to brain health services? Contact Faye Finnegan, director of donor relations, at faye@dbqfoundation.org or 563.588.2700.

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.


Help your neighbors in need during COVID-19

The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque has activated the Greater Dubuque Disaster Recovery Fund in partnership with the United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States to provide a coordinated response to COVID-19. More than $550,000 has been raised so far to address pressing needs. Please consider a gift of any amount.