Creating small miracles in the heartland

Karen Wallace taught nearly three generations of students at St. Mary’s School in Manchester. Although she died in 2009, she continues to make a difference in the lives of youth across Delaware County.

That’s because in 2008, Karen and her husband, Bill, transformed a coin collection she inherited from her father into a lasting legacy. Through the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County, the Wallaces started the Small Miracles Fund, which will pay out annually, forever. The fund has granted out dollars to provide simple things that make a huge difference for children in need.

Scholarships for band lessons and instrument rental, tuition for swimming lessons and pool passes in the summer, books and programs to help parents teach their children to read — these are just a few projects funded by Small Miracles to enhance the education of students who would not otherwise be able to afford such life-shaping experiences.

“Karen was always dreaming up things for kids to do,” says Bill, reflecting on his wife’s passion for youth. “The Small Miracles fund helps continue her work.”

The small miracles go beyond education, meeting the most basic needs of Delaware County children. A local quilt shop used grant dollars from the fund to stitch quilts and carrying bags for foster children in Delaware County, who often leave home with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing. A backpack program that feeds students outside of school depends on the Small Miracles fund to purchase peanut butter, a favored staple among youth. On children’s birthdays, a new book, a box of confetti cake mix and a jar of frosting magically appear in those same backpacks. The magic continues at Christmas, when students receive gifts from Santa thanks to grants from the Small Miracles fund.

Bill is the chair of the Small Miracles committee, overseeing the annual grant awards. His daughter, Dana, is also involved in the process. “It feels good to know Karen’s legacy will live on forever,” he says.

To make your own contribution to youth in Delaware County, contact Nancy Preussner, donor connections coordinator.

Press Contact

Jeff Danna
Communications Manager

About Us
Founded in 2002, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque strengthens communities and inspires giving. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life throughout Northeast Iowa by serving donors, making grants to local nonprofit organizations, and providing community leadership through convening and collaboration. Guided by the values of integrity, equity and inclusion, collaboration, excellence and innovation, we seek to ensure a vibrant and inclusive Greater Dubuque region with resources and opportunity for all.