Community Winter 2015
Celebration of Community


Nearly 300 community members gathered for Celebration of Community, an event hosted by the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Theatre Cedar Rapids to celebrate and recognize the work of nonprofits and the impact of grantmaking in our community.

“The programs and services of nonprofit organizations make our community a better place for all of us to live,” said Les Garner, President & CEO of the Community Foundation. “The nonprofit sector deals with some of our community’s greatest public challenges and opportunities. We are proud to work together with these organizations to improve the lives of our fellow citizens.”

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Kathy Hall and Dave O'Clair

Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award

Kathy L. Hall
Vice President, Development, Kirkwood Community College
Executive Director, Kirkwood Foundation

Throughout her 25 year career in the nonprofit sector, Kathy has influenced many organizations and touched many lives.

In addition to her leadership in her professional roles at Kirkwood Community College, and formerly at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation and Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Kathy gives much of her time serving on boards and as an informal peer advisor for many nonprofit professionals.

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Minnie Rubek Staff Excellence Award

Dave O’Clair
Facilities Director
Four Oaks

Dave O’Clair has held many positions in his 25-year career with Four Oaks. He began as a social worker, working with boys with challenging mental health and behavior issues.

Eventually, Dave moved into facilities roles including the management of the reconstruction of 400 apartment units at Cedar Valley and Hawthorne Hills. Dave tirelessly worked with clients with mental health challenges to solve their issues. He managed the challenge of moving people around by being available to work with them at all hours and days of the week.

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Cobbs and Coppocks

Philanthropy Leads to Summer Learning Innovation

It’s the kind of crisis that puts the future of our community at risk. Almost one in four Iowa third graders failed new reading tests this past spring. This is deeply troubling because by third grade, curriculums change and instead of learning to read, students are required to read to learn. The inability to read at grade level can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to succeed academically and obtain steady employment in the future. This problem is compounded by the fact that, under our current system, students have three months out of the year where they are not required to practice their academic skills. The “summer slide” that occurs when children do not continue to practice reading, writing and arithmetic in the summer months can make these discrepancies in academic achievement even more problematic.

This is profound, because the state recently announced that students who are not able to read at grade level by third grade will be required to either repeat the year, or participate in a state-approved summer program. School districts and organizations across Iowa have been concerned about what these summer programs will look like – there’s no guarantee they’ll be effective or affordable.

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Girls on the Run   Red Cedar Chamber

"One of the biggest problems facing women and girls is self-esteem. Girls on the Run encourages my girls to have confidence in themselves through a fun, non-competitive program. I’ve already seen a change my youngest daughter’s attitude about herself."


"One of the most profound things about Red Cedar is that they bring the music to the people, and it’s right there just a few feet away from them. They go to outlying, smaller communities that don’t have performance venues like Cedar Rapids. They go out to the people."

– Emily Diehl
Kenwood Elementary School mom whose daughters, Evey and Haven, have participated in Girls on the Run


– Melissa Summers
Red Cedar Chamber Board Member

A Program Fund grant supported Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa’s efforts at schools in Linn County. The program is volunteer-driven and aims to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.


A Linn County Fund grant supported Red Cedar Chamber Music’s rural community outreach efforts. The organization was founded in 1997 by Jan Boland and John Dowdall and presents ensemble chamber music through educational and interactive performances. The 2015-2016 season is a transition period for the organization; the founders will step aside from an official leadership role and as core musicians. The organization’s board has invited Miera Kim and Casey Bostian to become Red Cedar’s new directors and core musicians beginning in July 2016.

Board member Melissa Summers first learned about the educational programs while collaborating with the organization as the Fine Arts Facilitator for the Cedar Rapids Community School District. Since then, she has become increasingly involved in the organization. Match brings makerspace to students

In past years, the Community Foundation held a grant cycle for teachers that supported projects in Linn County classrooms. This year, the Foundation piloted the use of by offering a 1:1 match for donations to public school teacher projects in Linn County. It launched in August and awarded $25,000 in matching grants, funding 62 projects at 23 schools.

Mary Priske, a librarian at Washington Elementary School in Mount Vernon, had three projects funded thanks to the Community Foundation’s match on

“All I kept thinking was – why haven’t I done this before? It was an easy process. In today’s climate, there’s unfortunately not always support for education. DonorsChoose let me recognize what was best for my students, and just go for it.”

DonorsChoose brought MakerSpace materials to the school library. The MakerSpace promotes hands-on exploration, creativity, problem solving and collaboration skills. Students will use the materials to explore, tinker and create.



The City of Cedar Rapids has launched a new microloan program, administered by the East Central Iowa Council of Governments, to assist Cedar Rapids residents with business expenses related to start-up or expansions. The Community Foundation was involved in convening several organizations and private donors to assist with program development. The program, called MICRO, offers loans ranging from $1,000-$10,000, to be repaid in up to three years at four percent interest. Other collaborative partners include: Cedar Rapids Public Library, SCORE and the Small Business Development Center. For more information about MICRO, go to

Development Boot Camp


Fifty development professionals in the nonprofit sector gathered at the Community Foundation on September 15th for a Development Boot Camp training about how to take control of a fund development plan. The training was hosted by the Nonprofit Network and presented by the Development Team at the Community Foundation. For information on upcoming nonprofit trainings, visit or call
Carrie Walker at 319-774-2375 or


Investment Management

Donors Making a difference

Endow Iowa

Nonprofits Making a difference

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

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