Community Betterment Funds Established to Support Mount Vernon Nonprofits

Published: March 17, 2023 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

Recently, two new funds were established at the Community Foundation to provide immediate and lasting support for nonprofits serving Mount Vernon. The Mount Vernon Community Betterment Today Fund and Mount Vernon Community Betterment Tomorrow Fund are now accepting gifts, and funds will be administered through a grant application process overseen by a committee in Mount Vernon.

The two funds were established through an initial gift from retiring Community Foundation President & CEO Les Garner and his wife Katrina, but anyone is welcome to contribute to the funds.

“The Mount Vernon community was very welcoming when we arrived in 1994, and we are pleased to call it home today,” the Garners said. “We’re hopeful that these funds act as a catalyst for community-based philanthropy that serves Mount Vernon for many years to come.”

As an endowed fund, the Tomorrow Fund will be invested for long-term growth to create a permanent source of annual support. The Today Fund is non-endowed, so gifts to this fund will be immediately available for granting to nonprofit organizations. Details about grant eligibility, timeline, and award limits will be announced later this year.

“It’s sobering and inspiring to know that these funds will live on in perpetuity for the benefit of our community,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Tom Wieseler. “This generous gift will be appreciated by our many community groups for generations to come.”

Community Betterment Funds are a way for donors to support a specific community with flexible funding that can help meet the community’s changing needs. These are the first Community Betterment Funds established at the Community Foundation.

“This is a milestone—not just for Mount Vernon, but for all communities in Linn County,” said Michelle Beisker, Senior Vice President of Development. “Rural communities don’t always have access to significant philanthropic resources. Community Betterment Funds empower the residents of these communities to attract new investments and work toward a shared vision.”

For Mount Vernon, these funds may provide support for efforts often taken on by nonprofit organizations, like childcare, arts, literacy, youth development, and education.

“There are 947 towns in Iowa, and two thirds of those towns lost population in the last census,” Mayor Tom Wieseler said. “These funds will bolster our nonprofits and help attract new citizens to our community.”

Contributions to the funds can be made online at Mount Vernon Community Betterment Today Fund or Mount Vernon Community Betterment Tomorrow Fund or by mail to Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, 324 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.

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