Linn county nonprofit works to restore monarchs and their habitat

Clark McLeod believes the question at the core of the Monarch Research Project’s effort is simple. “Do you want a better environment for your kids and grandkids, or do you want the trend to continue in the opposite direction?” The group, started by Clark McLeod and Cam Watts, intends to make Linn County’s environment healthier and more vibrant by focusing on efforts aimed at expanding habitat for, raising, and releasing monarch butterflies.

Pollinators (the birds, bats bees, butterflies, and other bugs that help plants reproduce) are essential to the future of humanity and our planet. An estimated 75% to 95% of all flowering plants need help with pollination. Over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1,200 crops depend on the efforts of pollinators to reproduce. Because we are unable to replicate the process artificially, these critters play an essential role in maintaining vibrant and diverse green spaces and plant life. In total, pollinators contribute more than $24 billion to the United States economy by supporting the production of fruits, nuts, and vegetables.


Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity


"This home provides our family with a safe space. We are so grateful to the people who helped us, and we hope they can continue to help other families too."


—Eugene Bwanakweri
Son of Janvier and Josephine

A Linn County Fund grant provided funding to support Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity’s 2015 Palo Build. The project built a home for Janvier Bwanakweri, Josephine Ngabire and their six children.

Horizons’ Meals on Wheels   Children’s Cancer Connection

"I feel good every time I volunteer. You know that what you’re doing is really helping people. Often, I’m the only other person a meal recipient might see in their whole day. "


"Children’s Cancer Connection was such a huge help. Their programing allowed us to meet other families who were going through the same thing, which was incredibly comforting. That fellowship has been invaluable to us. "

– Dennis Goettel
Meals on Wheels volunteer


– Stephanie Horn
Mother of Dakota

A Program Fund grant supplied funding to Horizons’ Meals on Wheels program. Meals on Wheels relies on volunteers to deliver vital food and wellness checks to homebound seniors.


A Program Fund grant supported the Children’s Cancer Connection’s Family Resource Binders in Eastern Iowa. The binders provide families of children with a cancer diagnosis with information and connect them to support resources in their communities.



Summer Learning Program Expansion Underway

The Community Foundation continues its involvement in Reading into Success, the local initiative for the national Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The program is making progress toward its goal to ensure that children in our community read at grade level by the end of third grade.

One of the five focus areas of the Reading into Success initiative is summer learning. Last summer the Community Foundation was able to support a pilot expansion for Kids on Course Summer University in partnership with several donors and the Zach Johnson Foundation. The results of that pilot program were so promising that the Zach Johnson Foundation and the Cedar Rapids Community School District secured a federal matching grant – along with partnerships from Horizons, Kirkwood Community College, United Way, the Cedar Rapids Community School District Foundation, and Community Foundation donors – to expand this program. This summer, the program has expanded from serving 200 children at five schools to over 580 children at 15 schools. We look forward to seeing the impact of this program on students in our community.

To learn more about the focus areas of Reading into Success and how you can get involved, visit

Community Foundation to Match Donations to School Projects

For the second year, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has partnered with to match donations to classroom projects in grades K-12 in Linn County public schools. is a nonprofit organization that makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Last year, 49 teachers in 23 schools received funding for projects. The Community Foundation matched gifts totaling $25,000 for 62 projects that served 6,650 students.

How it works: Public school teachers in Linn County create classroom project requests on, donors can give any amount to the projects that inspire them, and the Community Foundation will provide a 1:1 match for each donation. The Community Foundation has $25,000 available to match donations for the 2016-2017 school year.

For more information, visit or contact Rochelle Naylor, Program Officer, at or 319.774.2373.

William Quarton Hereitage Society Luncheon
Nearly 120 people gathered for the 13th annual William Quarton Heritage Society Luncheon on June 21, 2016 to celebrate philanthropy and the generosity and commitment of members to the future of our community. The event was held at the Cedar Rapids Country Club. Les Garner, President & CEO of the Community Foundation, shared information about how to include family members in philanthropic planning. While there are many ways families approach philanthropy, two examples were shared from the families of Jack and Nancy Evans and Ron and Sue Olson.


Jack and Nancy Evans

Longtime Cedar Rapids residents, Jack and Nancy Evans, care about their community. They have built careers here and raised three sons here. Their planned gift will divide their estate into four equal parts with one part to become a fund at the Community Foundation. In their estate plans, they consider their community as their fourth child.


Ron and Sue Olson

This year, Ron and Sue Olson transferred leadership of their family business, Paulson Electric, to their children. Tyler, Mindy and her husband Ethan are the fourth generation to lead the company. They will also manage Paulson Electric’s corporate philanthropy.

Grant Awards

So far this year, the Community Foundation has distributed $5.2 million in grants to 208 nonprofit organizations. The awards include competitive grants from the Community Foundation’s Funds for the Community, as well as distributions from donor-advised, designated, scholarship and agency funds. For a complete list of grants made to date, visit The next grant deadline is Friday, October 14, 2016.

Giving Opportunity: Charitable IRA Rollover and Endow Iowa

The legislation to permanently extend the IRA charitable rollover tax policy allows donors age 70 1/2 and older an opportunity to transfer up to $100,000 of IRA assets to public charities without being subject to federal income taxes on the distribution. While the IRA charitable rollover doesn’t earn a charitable deduction, Iowa taxpayers taking advantage of the IRA charitable rollover are eligible to receive Endow Iowa tax credits, a 25 percent Iowa tax credit. Contact us to learn more about this charitable giving opportunity.

Upcoming Events

October Grant Deadline

Friday, October 14, 2016, by 4:30 p.m.
Visit for more information. .


Celebration of Community

Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 4-6 p.m.
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
Visit for more information.

Quarterly Investment Update

Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 2-3 p.m.
Community Foundation
To RSVP, call 319.366.2862 or e-mail



Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Join the global day of giving and make a gift to a nonprofit organization you care about.

Nonprofit awards: Call for Nominations!

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is hosting the fourth annual Celebration of Community event to celebrate philanthropy and the good work of nonprofits in Linn County. The Community Foundation will present two nonprofit awards at the event. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, September 14, 2016. For more information, visit


Investment Management

Donors Making a difference

Endow Iowa

Nonprofits Making a difference

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

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Quarton Luncheon Pictures