Two years after 140 mph winds tore through eastern Iowa, the damage wrought is still visible. Some 65% of the local tree canopy was lost, the stumps and broken branches serving as a reminder of what was once there.
While these scars will be visible for years to come, grants from the Disaster Recovery Fund continue to help our community heal and recover.
Established within a week of the storm, the Disaster Recovery Fund initially made grants to provide basic needs to the community’s most vulnerable. Nonprofit organizations could apply to the fund, and grants were also made to meet needs identified by community partners, such as Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster (LAP-AID).
Working with LAP-AID, other funders and local leaders, the Community Foundation was able to help prioritize needs and increase recovery efficiency. This collaborative approach helped establish programs such as PATCH (Providing Assistance to Community Homeowners), which offers housing repairs, loan assistance and case support.
While it is difficult to say at any point that we have fully recovered from a disaster, we can say that the most pressing needs have been addressed. As such, the Disaster Recovery Fund is no longer accepting applications. This month, a final batch of grants totaling $293,000 has been made to support the purchase, planting and care of trees throughout Linn County.
“It will be a long time before our tree canopy is restored,” said Carrie Walker, Nonprofit Network Manager and 2022 LAP-AID Chair. “But like all trees, these are being planted for the next generation, and as a community we will get to watch them grow.”
Through recovery efforts after the 2008 flood and 2020 derecho, and through partnerships with regional and national organizations, the Community Foundation has learned a lot about philanthropy’s potential in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. In accordance with best practices in the field, a small portion of the Disaster Recovery Fund will remain available for future disasters, and the fund itself will serve as a readily available resource for when it is needed.
“Preparedness goes a long way in the immediate aftermath of a disaster,” Carrie said. “Having the Disaster Recovery Fund in place, ready to accept and distribute funds, will be a big help when our community eventually faces another disaster.”
Grants for Tree Purchase, Planting and Care
|City of Hiawatha||$10,000|
|City of Marion||$40,000|
|City of Mount Vernon||$5,000|
|Monarch Research Project (for trees in rural Linn County)||$13,000|
|Trees Forever (ReLeaf Cedar Rapids)||$225,000|