In September of 2021, two separate awards recognized the Community Foundation and other organizations for leading efforts that have helped the community through the challenges of the past 18 months.
Iowa Finance Authority HousingIowa Award for Innovation
On September 8, the Iowa Finance Authority presented the HousingIowa Award for Innovation to the PATCH Program at its ’21 HousingIowa Conference in Cedar Rapids. The award recognized the PATCH Program for its collaborative and innovative approach to housing-related disaster recovery following the derecho.
PATCH, which stands for Providing Assistance to Community Homeowners, was established by a group of nonprofit organizations in the fall of 2020, when housing repairs were identified as a critical need ahead of the winter months. The collaboration includes Waypoint, Matthew 25, Housing Fund for Linn County, Neighborhood Finance Corp, HACAP, Habitat for Humanity, and Iowa Legal Aid, with funding from the Community Foundation, United Way of East Central Iowa, Alliant Energy Foundation, Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust Company, World Class Industries, and city and county governments.
Besides assistance with housing repairs, the program also offers a revolving loan fund to fill gaps left after insurance claims and FEMA assistance. To date, the program has helped nearly 300 Linn County homeowners access emergency repairs or forgivable loans.
The Gazette 2021 Business Award for Community Vision
On September 14, the Cedar Rapids Gazette presented the Community Foundation with the Gazette Business Award for Community Vision. This award recognizes a number of initiatives and efforts that the Community Foundation has led or been involved in over the past 18 months, including derecho response, grants for pandemic relief, PATCH Program funding, and the work of the Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Fund.
While this award was presented in recognition of recent work, it acknowledges the Community Foundation’s commitment to the long-term health and wellbeing of the community, which remains the very basis for all that we do.
“Our priority right now is to stay focused on what we are doing,” said Les Garner, President & CEO, during the award presentation. “We’re still monitoring emerging needs related to disaster recovery, and we are certainly keeping our eyes on the latest surge in the pandemic.” It is precisely this mentality—responding to today’s needs while being mindful of the future—that has made the Community Foundation an award-winning organization.
A full video with an interview by Les can be viewed here.