Each year, Frank and Cheryle Mitvalsky look forward to receiving unsolicited letters from strangers.Not junk mail or cable television offers, but thank you letters from Kirkwood Community College students.
“We receive letters from students each year and I keep all of them in a folder,” says Cheryle Mitvalsky. “We look forward to hearing from the students about how much our support means to them.”
The Mitvalskys have provided scholarships to six students since they started supporting scholarships at the community college several years ago. Their contributions come from the annual returns of the Frank and Cheryle Mitvalsky Fund, which they established in 2004 through the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. Through their donor-advised fund, the Mitvalskys also provide annual, unrestricted support to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, a landmark hard hit by the floods of 2008.
“The impact of the flood still lasts in our community. We know firsthand the importance of unrestricted funds as the museum rebuilds the facility and grows its programming,” says Cheryle.
Early Adopters One of the first couples to establish an endowed fund and benefit from the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program, some might call the Mitvalsky’s move a leap of faith–but not Cheryle and Frank. Having served on the Community Foundation’s board of directors for several years, including Cheryle’s role as board chair in 2013 and Frank’s role as chair from 1998-1999, they were confident in the Community Foundation’s leadership and knew the endowment would be well managed.
Over the years, the Mitvalskys have witnessed the Community Foundation’s growing impact. From annual grant distributions of $340,000 in the early 90s to today’s annual grant distributions of $6 million, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation and the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program have become a preferred channel for local corporate and individual giving. As a result, the Community Foundation is able to make transformational grants to meet critical community needs.
“Endow Iowa is a catalyst for donors to create funds to benefit worthwhile projects both big and small across the state,” says Cheryle. “We are strong believers that endowments provide stability and play an important role in addressing the needs of our community.”
Reprinted with permission from the Iowa Council of Foundations