Kari McCann Boutell, President
Iowa Council of Foundations
During this year’s COVID-19 pandemic – where over $1 billion was distributed nationally by community foundations in response to the crisis – Iowa community foundations have served as strong community partners in meeting the unique challenges each of their communities has faced. Through June 30, 2020, Iowa Community Foundations have raised and/or committed $6.7 million to COVID-19 relief, response and recovery efforts. Additionally, community foundations went beyond the money to help their communities adapt during this critical time—supporting nonprofits, schools, and small businesses through partnerships with local government agencies at the state and federal levels. We have been so inspired watching this work unfold through the state.
In addition to these fundraising efforts, Iowa community foundations also made important shifts in how they distribute grant dollars. Some of these practices may continue for the long-term, moving community foundations in Iowa toward a more trust-based philanthropic approach. Some examples of these shifts include:
- Re-allocating existing grant funds for COVID-19 relief/response/recovery; or moving remaining 2020 funding to response efforts
- Simplifying grant applications and process
- Loosening grant restrictions
- Extending grant periods
- Unrestricting restricted grants
- Providing general operating support dollars
- Not requiring matching funds
- Hitting the pause button on strategic and programmatic evaluations
- Lifting or postponing traditional reporting requirements
We will lift up the important work of Iowa community foundations during National Community Foundations’ Week November 12 – 18 and we invite you to join us by telling your community foundation’s story together with your local media partners. A reminder, the Council on Foundations has made this Toolbox of communications materials available for you use. Let’s celebrate – together – the important role Iowa community foundations have played in their communities in 2020!