Thrive Cohort

In 2020, the Community Foundation was looking for new ways to support emerging nonprofit organizations and advance racial equity in Linn County. As grassroots groups responded to the pandemic and derecho, an opportunity emerged to make progress on both goals simultaneously. In early 2021, the Thrive Cohort was launched to bring together Black, Brown, and Biracial nonprofit leaders for relationship-building, networking, and learning. The goal is to help nonprofit organizations close the racial leadership gap and diversify staff and managerial teams.

Five leaders of emerging organizations were selected to participate in the initial cohort, which met monthly for two years to engage in discussions and learning activities on a range of topics related to building nonprofit organizations. Local leaders served as guest facilitators, and each member’s organization received a quarterly $2,500 grant for general operating support. Many organizations use these grants for overhead, programming, and even educational costs for their leadership. The grants—and the sentiment behind them—were often transformational. 

The inaugural Thrive Cohort discussed their experiences during a 2022 Community Learning Series, and you can view that event here

To build on the work of the initial Thrive Cohort, a second cohort was put together in early 2023 with support from the Alliant Energy Foundation. Participation was opened to any person of color who works for or invests significant time and resources into a local nonprofit organization. The format remained largely the same, as participants heard from local leaders, subject matter experts, and elected officials. Each participant’s organization received a $2,500 grant to support their professional development. 

2024 Thrive Cohort

The 2024 Thrive Cohort consists of 12 Black, Brown, and Bi-racial professionals who work for or invest significant time and resources into a local nonprofit or grassroots organization. Participants will meet monthly through November 2024 for relationship building, networking and intentional learning with local leaders. Each Cohort member’s organization will receive $2,000 in grants to support general operations.

2024 Participants:

Dominique Brooks, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa

Cecilia Bwanakweri, Catherine McAuley Center

Brittley Dixon, Junior League of Cedar Rapids

Markees Drayton, Four Oaks

Quamii Hardwick, Zach Johnson Foundation

Lovar Kidd, Wellington Heights Community Church

Derrick Perkins, Never Dream Less Foundations

Maxine Prime, Willis Dady

Monica Vallejo, Latinos Unidos for Community Inclusion

Yer Vang, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Dubuque

Carla Walker, Four Oaks

Dannielle Williams, ASAC

Visit the Nonprofit Giving Center and the Nonprofit Calendar to search for a nonprofit fund, organization, cause, or event to support.