Community Foundation Appoints Program Officer and Announces First Grant Opportunity for Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities Fund

Published: February 21, 2019 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:
Rachel Rockwell joins the Community Foundation as Program Officer for Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities Fund.


The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has appointed Rachel Rockwell as Program Officer to facilitate the grantmaking from the Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving (SET)  Communities Fund. The fund was established in October 2018 in partnership with the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County and the Cedar Rapids Community School District. The purpose is to address the inter-relational factors that lead to youth violence in Cedar Rapids as identified in the Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Task Force. The first grant cycle deadline will be on March 27, 2019 for summer programming.

Rockwell started in her new role at the Community Foundation on February 18, 2019. In this part-time Program Officer position, she will facilitate the Creating SET Communities Fund grantmaking process by convening partners in identifying projects; assisting with project development and proposal submission; leading the grantmaking process and committee; and providing analysis and monitoring of funded projects.

Rockwell has an extensive background in community, organization and nonprofit development. She will continue her current role as the Hoover Elementary Community School Coordinator with the Cedar Rapids Community School District. She has served as a business development consultant for nearly 15 years to a variety of organizations, most recently in Tanzania. Rachel has served as the County Education Director at the Iowa State University Agricultural Extension for Linn County. She was also the founder and executive director of a nonprofit called Culture Incorporated, a community center in Des Moines, Iowa focused on engaging and supporting at-risk youth and families.

“Rachel’s experience precisely meets the needs of this community convening work,” says Karla Twedt-Ball, Senior Vice President of Programs and Community Investment at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. “She has many established relationships with our partners and nonprofit organizations and we look forward to introducing her to many more.”

The application deadline for the first grant cycle for the fund will be on March 27, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. A total of $40,000 will be available for programming offered in the summer of 2019 with the goal of funding 6-8 projects. Funding is available to organizations and community groups with programming that cultivates, engages and/or connects with youth and young adults who are disproportionately exposed to violence in their homes, neighborhoods, and schools and who might not otherwise participate in summer programming. Priority will be given to applicants who involve youth in program design and integrate youth voice and choice throughout program delivery.

Because this grant program is seeking innovative programming with a group of youth who can be challenging to connect with programs or services, the Community Foundation recognizes that potential applicants might benefit from exploring creative solutions. A Planning Session will be held on Monday, March 11 at 11:30 a.m. at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation to help foster connections and collaborative efforts. To RSVP, a survey has been created to gauge the interest of potential applicants and prepare for the session at

“This inaugural grant opportunity will be about learning,” says Rockwell. “It is designed to find innovative ideas, to test new models, and to explore what works and what doesn’t. I am looking forward to the possibilities.” The results of the summer grants will be used to inform future violence intervention efforts in the community. Successful applicants will be asked to share their learning and experiences to help guide future funding goals and priorities.

Information about the grant opportunity including the application, guidelines, and funding priorities can be found here.

Information about the Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving (SET) Communities Fund can be found here.

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