116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Funding boosts for Mount Vernon nonprofits
2 granting streams created through Greater C.R. Community Foundation
Mar. 15, 2023 6:00 am
Mount Vernon nonprofits have two new funding streams, through the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.
The Mount Vernon Community Betterment Today Fund and the Mount Vernon Community Betterment Tomorrow Fund will make grants for efforts often taken on by nonprofit organizations, such as child care, arts, literacy, youth development, and education.
Details about grant eligibility, timeline and award limits will be announced later this year.
Established through a lead gift from residents Les and Katrina Garner, these funds will provide a permanent and flexible source of funding to help the community meet changing needs and take advantage of new opportunities.
The Mount Vernon Community Betterment Today Fund is non-endowed, meaning its entire balance can be granted to meet current community needs.
The Mount Vernon Community Betterment Tomorrow Fund is endowed, meaning it is invested for long-term growth and will provide a permanent source of funding to help meet future needs.
“Mount Vernon was very welcoming when we arrived in 1994, and we are pleased to call it home today,” the Garners said in a prepared statement. "We’re hopeful that these funds act as a catalyst for community-based philanthropy that serves Mount Vernon for many years to come.”
Les Garner will retire this year from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, where he has been president and CEO since 2010. Before that, he served as the president of Cornell College in Mount Vernon for 16 years.
“Katrina and I are pleased to be making this legacy gift in appreciation to the community that we call home,” Garner said.
The Garners hope the funds will provide a convenient option for donors looking to support the community. All are invited to contribute to the funds.
“It’s sobering and inspiring to know these funds will live on in perpetuity for the benefit of our community,” Mount Vernon Mayor Tom Wieseler said. “This generous gift will be appreciated by our many community groups for generations to come.”
The funds will be administered by a local committee, which is being assembled with a focus on representation from a wide range of constituencies in Mount Vernon.
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 at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. “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.”
“There are 947 towns in Iowa, and two-thirds of those towns lost population in the last census,” Wieseler noted. “These funds will bolster our nonprofits and help attract new citizens to our community.”
Contributions to the new Mount Vernon Community Betterment Today Fund and Mount Vernon Community Betterment Tomorrow Fund can be made online at gcrcf.org or by mail to Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, 324 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.
About the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
Through professional philanthropic services, strategic investments, and community leadership, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation connects donors who care with causes that matter.
The Community Foundation is a public, nonprofit organization with assets totaling more than $190 million and more than 1,000 charitable funds, large and small, established by individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and businesses to benefit Linn County.
The vision is to create a vibrant and inclusive Linn County where all people thrive. The mission is to strengthen the community through philanthropy.
For more information on the Community Foundation, go to gcrcf.org or on Facebook or Instagram.