Martha Bonte: It Doesn’t Take Much to Make a Difference

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” – John Wesley

My husband John and I have these words from John Wesley on a card in our bookcase to remind us that that’s a good way to live. We enjoy giving back. It’s our vocation, and it’s a part of the reason we each chose a career in teaching.

I like to think of us as ordinary people. We worked together for 40 years at Clinton Community College and we saved for retirement.  Like many Iowans, we helped our neighbors—volunteering and chipping in what we could, when we could. 

Like many others our age can relate, we saved for retirement and were eventually needed to take our annual required minimum distribution from our IRA.  As a board member of the River Bluff Community Foundation, I’ve become familiar with a program called the IRA Charitable Rollover. This federal legislation allows retirees who are 70 ½ or older to donate a portion of their retirement accounts without a tax penalty. So, we were able to use a portion of these dollars we didn’t really need to give back to our community through a donation to the Foundation’s Community Impact fund, a permanent fund dedicated to meeting future community needs and responding to unknown challenges. 

I want to encourage other “ordinary” people to see that there are ways they can give back too, even if they don’t have the kind of wealth that many people do when they fund a hospital wing or big new building at a university. Giving can be done in smaller ways that are still very helpful and very significant. We all have the capacity to make a difference. Whether it’s lending a hand, a dollar, or dream, we can plant the seeds of a future we can believe in.

If you have a vision for making our community a better place, the River Bluff Community Foundation can help you.  I invite you to learn more about how they assist in charitable projects and programs that contribute to the quality of life in Clinton by visiting

Martha Bonte is a board member of the River Bluff Community Foundation.

The River Bluff Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque

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Jeff Danna
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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.