Informatics Inc. founders Frank, Maureen and John Osako know what it’s like to hatch a new, small business and nurture its growth to success.
That’s exactly what they did 15 years ago, when they started a small Internet consulting business in their home. They focused on helping businesses use the Internet to their advantage.
Today, Informatics has 15 employees. This spring, they moved their downtown firm into a larger space around the corner on Second Ave. Their reputation is solid; they have won numerous design and technology awards. The Corridor Business Journal has named Informatics as Best Website Developer for seven years in a row (2006-2012).
“It’s a true homegrown business,” said Maureen, Informatics Partner and Vice President for Client Services. “Our approach has always been cautious in terms of growth. We worked with it step-by-step.”
That approach – building gradually, looking toward the future – is also integral to the way the Osakos give back to their community. This year, Informatics became the first area business to establish a Prairie Fund, a fund offered by the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation to help individuals and businesses start small in philanthropy, gradually growing to respond to community needs.
With an initial donation of $2,500, and regular contributions over the next five years, Informatics’ Prairie Fund will become a named endowed fund once it reaches $10,000. At that time, the fund will produce a distributable amount the Osakos can award to nonprofits they wish to support.
John, who serves as Informatics Partner and Vice President for Development, serves on the Community Foundation’s board. When he learned about Prairie Funds, he suggested starting one for Informatics.
“With a Prairie Fund, it’s possible to start with a small amount and build from there,” he explained. “It is for beginner philanthropists. It also allows small businesses to get their foot in the door.”
“One of our goals was to be able to give back to the community, while being wise in how we spend our dollars,” John says. “With the options that the Prairie Fund offers for philanthropy and growth of funds, it provides a multiplier effect.”
It’s a strategic investment in the community and its future. That’s a commitment important to all three Osakos, who are all involved in the Cedar Rapids community.
“Being involved and giving back are key to making our community a better place to live,” said Maureen. “This is a true win-win for us and the community we’re a part of.”
Because these values are essential, starting a Prairie Fund felt right to the Osakos. Working with the Community Foundation made it that much better.