Keith and Sherry Kramer: A Vision for Tomorrow’s Youth

“When you give back, it pays off again and again.” – Keith Kramer

In the late 1990s, Keith Kramer co-chaired and helped rally local citizens around a successful $8.6 million bond issue to upgrade facilities at Maquoketa Valley and build new schools in Earlville and Delhi. Energized by the group’s success, he led a vision to establish a scholarship program at Maquoketa Valley that would give all students the opportunity to succeed.

“I told the group, ‘I’ve got a big dream. I really want to do a scholarship program, something that’s going to be here forever,’” says Keith. “I was an average student but saw the importance at that time of going on to college. Without my bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Northern Iowa, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Thanks to Keith’s efforts, Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars has awarded more than 600 scholarships totaling over $700,000 since 2001.

“I knew if they all worked together again that it would succeed, and it has,” says his wife Sherry.

Keith found additional support when the Foundation helped Dollars for Scholars establish an endowment fund, which is invested and pays out 5% annually to provide a reliable source of income for scholarships.

“I wanted those funds to be invested and exist in perpetuity so that 40 years from now the program will continue,” says Keith.

In just a decade, the Dollars for Scholars Endowment now holds nearly $1 million in permanent funds to support area students forever. Keith credits the Endow Iowa 25% State Tax Credit as a factor in the growth of the endowment.

Keith and Sherry also established a donor-advised fund through the Foundation and are in the process of establishing a legacy fund to benefit several local organizations.

“We’ve been very gifted with what we have,” says Keith. “We both started out with little or nothing, but when you give back, it pays off again and again.”

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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.