To say that Bill and Patricia Buss have deep roots in Denver, Iowa would be an understatement. For more than 50 years the couple has lived in the small Bremer County town, and for just as long, they have been generous and influential members of the community.
Bill grew up in Denver, and Patricia in nearby Clarksville. They met in 1967 and were married the following year. In 1969, Bill established Denver Construction, the first of several businesses that the two would operate together.
Their success in business gave Bill and Patricia the inspiration and resources to help young people in their community access opportunities for professional success.
“Our first interest was developing a scholarship for students wishing to go to trade school,” the Busses said. “We believe that kids should get a good education, whether it be in college or trade school.”
Bill and Patricia first brought their idea to their financial advisor, Darrel Morf, an estate planning attorney at Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC. Darrel’s connection to the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is almost as strong as Bill and Patricia’s connection to Denver. It was Darrel who worked with William Quarton to make a significant gift in the 1980’s that would transform the private Community Welfare Fund into the public Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.
“In 2016, Bill and Patricia were very interested in establishing a fund to provide scholarship for students attending the Denver Community School District,” Darrel said. “We discussed the options available and the advantage of establishing the fund at the Community Foundation, who could provide ongoing administration and investment of the fund.”
The result was a scholarship fund to support graduates of Denver High School. The Community Foundation’s commitment to continuity and accountability is why Darrel refers his clients to the organization, he said. “The flexibility and expertise which the Community Foundation brings to planning can be of great benefit to donors,” he added.
The Busses found this to be true as well. “The Community Foundation has made it possible to donate to worthy causes,” they said. “They have been very helpful in pursuing possibilities and exploring ideas for gifting.”
Shortly after establishing their first scholarship fund, the Busses began to hear about Denver High School’s award-winning robotics team, the Cybots, who were also working to get younger kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Bill and Patricia were excited by the idea of contributing to that cause.
The couple established a second scholarship fund at the Community Foundation specifically for students interested in pursuing STEM education. At the same time, they established a designated fund to support STEM programs in the Denver Community School District. Because it is endowed, the fund will support the school district in perpetuity.
“We hope that our giving might encourage students to further their education in many possible ways,” the Busses said. “The children are the future,” they added, and it’s clear they truly believe this. To date, their gifts have provided more than $50,000 in scholarships and school funding, and their generosity doesn’t stop there.
Bill and Patricia have acquired property in and around Denver over the years, and they recently donated some of it for the construction of the Denver Athletic Complex. They also provided a financial gift to support construction of a gym next to the new complex. Together, these facilities will provide a wide range of opportunities for young people in and around Denver well into the future.