Couple Uses Inheritance to Honor Parents

Terry and Linda Heller both grew up on small farms in western Illinois, graduating from a high school class of about 50 students. After living in Chicago while working towards his PhD, Terry received a teaching opportunity in the English Department at Coe College, and the couple settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

It has been a good fit for Terry and Linda – they appreciate the opportunities the larger community provides, but enjoy the accessible, small-town feel. They raised a son in Cedar Rapids, and regularly gave modest, charitable contributions to area nonprofits.

After the passing of Terry’s parents, Rollin and Betty, in 2010 and 2014 respectively, Terry and Linda were surprised to learn that they would receive a significantly larger inheritance than they had expected. Rollin and Betty retired from farming in 1972. They sold their machinery but never discussed the value of their farm.




Linn-Mar Foundation


"Music is everywhere and band is a fun way to learn more about it. I hope to play trumpet in high school, and it’s important to learn the basics now."


-Makayla Clark l
7th grader at Linn-Mar’s Excelsior Middle School

A Program Fund grant supported Linn-Mar Foundation’s Music Connects program. This effort provides financial support for low-income students who wish to pursue band or orchestra. Linn-Mar Associate Orchestra Director, Kelly Vieth, notes that the Music Connects program has increased student interest in orchestra and band in elementary and middle school, because parents feel that it’s affordable. She notes that it has a big impact on students because, “they feel like they’re equal to their peers and that there’s no distinction based on socioeconomic status. They feel like they belong.”

CompuPlace   Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association

"Coming to CompuPlace is a point of pride for Debbra. Her self-esteem has skyrocketed, because when she comes here she can feel normal. She gets to use a computer to learn like other people do."


"People need to know that somebody cares. They need to be encouraged to take pride in their neighborhood."

– Barbara Christensen
Mother of Debbra Burkey,
CompuPlace participant


– Brenda Runyan
Resource Coordinator, Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association

The Ecumenical Community Center’s CompuPlace is a unique computer learning lab for people with intellectual and other disabilities. A grant from the Program Fund supported the program which improves reading, math, problem-solving, communication, and typical computer and Internet skills in ways that augment quality of life, self-esteem, and independence for participants.


The Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association received support from a Program Fund grant to organize resources and community building efforts through a part-time resource coordinator.


Cedar Rapids Joins Nationwide Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

For 16 months, more than 20 organizations and four school districts have been collaborating on an initiative to increase the number of children reading proficiently by third grade. Our community, whose local initiative is called Reading into Success, was recently notified of its acceptance as a National Campaign for Grade Level Reading community.

“This is an important milestone,” says Karla Twedt-Ball, Senior Vice President, Programs and Community Investment at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. “This membership gives our community access to experts and policymakers focused on early literacy, as well as opportunities to share and learn best practices from more than 240 participating communities across the country.” Locally, one in four third graders do not read proficiently, a number that increases to one in three for low-income students. Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical step toward high school graduation and success later in life because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”

“We know that the ability of a child to read at grade-level by age nine is critical to the child’s future,” says Les Garner, President & CEO of the Community Foundation. “We are proud to be part of a community-wide solution. Reading into Success is about our community coming together to understand the importance of grade level reading, and to provide support to impact academic outcomes for children.”

A one-year anniversary event will be held on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 6 p.m. at the Cedar Rapids Public Library to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year and plan for the coming year. The event is open to the public. To register, visit

Reading into Success recently launched a new website. The site shares the focus areas of the initiative and how the community can get involved. To view the site, visit
opportunities offered by Nonprofit Network
The Nonprofit Network continues to provide a point of connection and resources for local nonprofit professionals.

Nonprofit Know-How: Storytelling
The Nonprofit Know-How series provides learning opportunities on a variety of topics. This quarter, attendees will learn how to share the work of their nonprofit organization through storytelling. The program will be presented by Rob Cline, freelance arts and entertainment writer and Director of Marketing and Communications for the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
Registration is required.

Peer Engagement

Nonprofit Peer Groups
Peer group meetings provide an informal setting for nonprofit professionals and volunteers in similar positions to share ideas and learn from one another. The meeting days and times for 2016 are:

Executive Directors of Small Nonprofits
First Tuesday of the month 12 - 1 p.m.

Chief Financial Officers
Third Thursday of the month 12 - 1 p.m.

Marketing Professionals
Fourth Tuesday of the month 12 - 1 p.m.

Development Professionals
Third Tuesday of every other month 12 - 1 p.m.

Lunch is provided with registration and there is no cost to participate.


The Nonprofit Network’s Making the Connection monthly e-newsletter promotes upcoming learning opportunities and provides important information for area nonprofits.

To participate in any of the opportunities above, contact Carrie Walker, Nonprofit Network Coordinator at 319.774.2375 or For more information about the Nonprofit Network, visit
New Board Members

Kate Minette

Community Volunteer

Sue Olson

Community Volunteer

Charlie Schimberg

President, Schimberg Co.


Economic Revitalization Study Group Visits Cedar Rapids

A study group focused on the economic revitalization of small cities visited Cedar Rapids on February 29 – March 2. The 16-member group, which included representatives from national and regional foundations and the Federal Reserve Bank System is studying cities that have rebounded from the economic decline associated with the “rust belt” phenomenon. The group’s goal is to identify factors that contribute to renewed economic vitality in the face of economic challenges. The Community Foundation was contacted by the Funders Network to assist in coordinating the visit. Eleven other community organizations participated in the tour and presentations.



On January 14 and 15, 2016, over 30 nonprofit representatives and two service dogs in training attended the Grant Pre-Application Briefing offered by the Community Foundation to review funding opportunities for 2016 and to provide an overview of the application process.

MICROLoan Program

The collaborative MICROLoan Program was launched in September 2015 to assist Cedar Rapids residents with business expenses related to start-ups or expansions. So far over 20 conversations with potential borrowers have occurred and two loans have been made. To learn more about MICRO, visit To make a contribution to MICRO, call the Community Foundation at 319.366.2862.

Regional Vision Planning

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is providing support for the Iowa Creative Corridor Regional Vision Rising planning. The goal of the process is to build regional consensus for the future of the Creative Corridor. After eight months of work by several regional partner organizations, the initiative launched on February 10, 2016. A public input survey was collected on February 26. The planning process is expected to take approximately seven months. At the end of the effort, the Creative Corridor will have a consensus-based, achievable strategy to guide the region’s path to short and long-term economic growth. For more information about the regional planning effort, visit

Upcoming Events

Reading into Success: Chapter 2 Event

Tuesday, March 29, 6 p.m.
Cedar Rapids Public Library
To register, visit


June Grant Deadline

Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 4:30 p.m.
Visit for more information.

Nonprofit Know-How: Storytelling

Wednesday, April 13, 2016,
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Community Foundation
To register, contact Carrie Walker at 319.774.2375 or


William Quarton Heritage Society Luncheon

Tuesday, June 21, 2016,
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Cedar Rapids Country Club Save the date! Invitations will be mailed in May.

Quarterly Investment Update

Wednesday, April 27, 2016,
2-3 p.m. Community Foundation
To RSVP, call 319.366.2862 or e-mail


Investment Management

Donors Making a difference

Endow Iowa

Nonprofits Making a difference

324 3rd St. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Facebook Linkedin Vimeo Instagram