Iowa Community Foundations Initiative
Since 2004, the ICoF has been designated as the state’s Lead Philanthropic Entity. In this role, we are proud to partner with the Iowa Economic Development Authority on two legislated programs that impact community foundations in our state: the County Endowment Fund Program and the Endow Iowa Tax Credit Program. To that end, the Iowa Community Foundations Initiative has become a core program area for the ICoF. Learn more here.
Racial Equity Cohort
In 2021, the ICoF is hosting a year-long Racial Equity Cohort experience for members. 54 participants, representing 27 different member organizations, will engage in 6 peer-supported learning sessions. Participants will also work with accountability partners throughout the year to explore together the lessons of the cohort and applying changes in practice and policy at their organizations — and personally. Change in practice and network progress will be measured using a Equity assessment tool designed specifically for the cohort.
The ICoF has pledged to support our members by providing space to learn about the structural racism that exists in our country; to understand the blind spots in our work; and to come together as a membership community to discuss solutions and strategies to create real, positive, and lasting change throughout Iowa and our nation. We are pleased to offer this cohort opportunity in 2021, and encouraged by the number of members who will be engaged in this journey.
Foundation Openness User Experience Cohort
In January 2017, ICoF received a $20,000 grant from the United Philanthropy Forum and the Fund for Shared Insight to launch a Foundation Openness Cohort. An additional $10,000 grant was received in January 2018 to continue the work.
Twenty cohort members participated, representing 17 ICoF member organizations. The cohort explored user experience theory and applying those principals to funder-grantee relationships in the philanthropic sector. We partnered with Visual Logic Group and a team of consultants from See What I Mean Consulting on this project. Read the Foundation Openness Cohort Report published in April 2019.
A special thanks to cohort sponsors, the Alliant Energy Foundation and the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation!
Iowa Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Network
In 2014, ICoF launched a statewide funder coalition on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR Campaign) for Iowa funders interested in bringing the Campaign into their local communities. This three-year, grant-funded project, was designed to build off a co-funding investigation project in which members of the ICoF Education Funders Network selected the GLR Campaign as their focus area for collaborative work. Click here to read the ICoF Education Funders Network Report.
At the end of the three-year project in June 2017, we achieved our goal of doubling the number of GLR Campaign communities in Iowa from six to twelve – ultimately leading to improved grade-level reading proficiency scores among low-income students in those communities.
The ICoF has received additional funding to continue supporting the Iowa Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Mini-grant funds are available to Campaign communities to support technical assistance and capacity building efforts. Please contact Kari if you interested in learning more.
Current ICoF members, please visit the Member’s Only section of this website for additional GLR Campaign Resources, news, and more!
Iowa Youth Philanthropy Conference
There are 15 youth philanthropy groups across the state of Iowa, many of which are sponsored or funded by ICoF members. ICoF believes in youth philanthropy because these programs educate young people about philanthropy to:
- Inspire future givers
- Become future board members
- Staff foundations and nonprofits
- Actively participate in our communities
In an effort to support this important work, ICoF has partnered with several of our members to host the Iowa Youth Philanthropy Conference annually the past three years.
The Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency, and Emergency Partnership (PPREP)
Since 2017, the Iowa Council of Foundations staff has participated in The Funders’ Network’s Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency, and Emergency Partnership (PPREP) cohort. The purpose of PPREP is to create and support a community foundation disaster preparedness and response learning cohort in a ten-state Midwestern region of the United States, roughly correlating with the watershed of the Missouri River. ICoF member participants include: Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, and Quad Cities Community Foundation. We are also participating alongside our regional association colleagues from Kansas and Minnesota. We have worked over the past three years to bring resources, tools and lessons learned back from PPREP convenings and have shared with our board, and the Iowa Community Foundations and Iowa Council of Foundations networks. See our Disaster Philanthropy page for more details and resources, and for information on recent disaster response.