COMMUNITY STORIES

In honor of National Community Foundation Week and National Philanthropy Day, Community Foundation for Western Iowa, formerly Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, annually celebrates donors, nonprofit organizations, and other key stakeholders who make it possible for us to continue to amplify impact in Pottawattamie County and western Iowa. We are thrilled to feature these amazing individuals and organizations as we continue to create impact as your local community foundation.

Sheryl Garst | Board Member

The Community Foundation for Western Iowa is excited to join the national network of over 800 community foundations throughout America who are celebrating National Community Foundation Week. Donors, nonprofits, and other key stakeholders make it possible for the Community Foundation for Western Iowa to continue to amplify impact throughout western Iowa. An essential group working towards innovative and effective solutions facing our community is the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Sheryl Garst, CEO of the 712 Initiative, joined the Community Foundation’s Board in 2017 and currently serves on the marketing committee, as well as the Southwest Iowa Mental Health and Substance Abuse Fund committee.

Sheryl and her husband, Matt, were both taught at an early age to think of others before themselves and value the importance of giving back to their community. Sheryl sees the Community Foundation as just that – a vehicle for individuals, families, and businesses to make tremendous, sustainable impact for not only Council Bluffs, but throughout western Iowa.

Sheryl is most proud of the Community Foundation’s strong brand and growth for giving and notes, “It has allowed a person like Barbara Green to have legacy impact for those wishing to study at Iowa State. It has allowed Richard Wenninghoff to share his success through scholarship support for students. It has allowed local champions to keep and invest their money back into western Iowa. Large or small, each one of us can leave a lasting legacy for those around us, and the communities we love. Investing in the Community Foundation is investing in our community’s sustainability, growth, and future success.”

Bryan Schneider | D.A. Davidson & Co.

National Community Foundation Week recognizes the important work of over 800 community foundations throughout America and their approach in addressing civic and economic challenges. The Community Foundation for Western Iowa created the “Make It Happen” nonprofit workshop series as an innovative way to help nonprofit organizations grow their fundraising acumen and capacity. We are delighted to feature Bryan Schneider, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor and Portfolio Manager at D.A. Davidson & Co. as sponsors of the 2023 “Make It Happen” program.

D.A. Davidson & Co. was inspired to support the Community Foundation’s “Make It Happen” program because of their growth and expanding footprint. Schneider noted that the Community Foundation’s recent name change reflects its growth and illustrates that communities and nonprofit organizations can benefit from the great work the Community Foundation does in western Iowa.

Schneider feels many of the country’s biggest challenges could be most effectively addressed by the for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental sectors collaborating to solve them. He believes that the nonprofit sector is the most fragile, and therefore, it is vital to assist organizations in that sector to become as self-sustaining as possible. He believes that is what the “Make it Happen” program is designed to accomplish.

“The key elements of any growing and thriving community are passion, vision, and leadership,” said Schneider. “Over the past three years, I have been fortunate to spend time with the volunteers and staff at the Community Foundation for Western Iowa. I quickly recognized that each of those elements is woven into the fabric of the organization, and see the positive and tangible effects it is having on western Iowa.”

Rod Rhoden | Motors Management + Rod Rhoden Foundation

On November 15, National Philanthropy Day recognizes the great contributions of philanthropy – and individuals active in the charitable community – to the enrichment of our world. The Community Foundation for Western Iowa is thrilled to feature Rod Rhoden of Motors Management for his philanthropic spirit and his commitment to creating a legacy of lasting, positive impact in our region.

Rod Rhoden, a Glenwood native, created the Rod Rhoden Foundation approximately 10 years ago, and an endowed Donor Advised Fund (DAF) at the Community Foundation for Western Iowa in 2016. These charitable tools are tangible and lasting ways to support organizations and causes throughout the region now and for years to come. Two western Iowa organizations that continue to benefit from Mr. Rhoden’s generosity include Glen Haven Village and Glenwood Fire and Rescue.

“The fund at the Community Foundation allows me to donate funds to nonprofit organizations of my choice throughout the year,” said Rhoden. His DAF with the Community Foundation gives him flexibility, and he can then maximize his impact with the Foundation’s matching dollars into endowment funds. These matching funds, particularly the special 20% match to endowed funds in celebration of Giving Tuesday this year, enable him to create even more impact for years to come. “My charitable fund at the Community Foundation also gives me the ability to save for special southwest Iowa projects. I would advise everyone to look to the Community Foundation for Western Iowa as a very easy and efficient method to plan for your current and future charitable giving.”

Catrina Trabal | SHARE Iowa

The Community Foundation for Western Iowa continues its celebration of National Community Foundation Week – a celebration highlighting the far-reaching impact of over 800 community foundations in the United States. The Community Foundation continues to create durable, positive impact in our region and recently launched SHARE Iowa in its nine-county service area. This dynamic, engaging online tool helps nonprofit organizations communicate about events, encourage donations through Amazon wish lists, better engage volunteer opportunities, and provides an easy and flexible way to receive donations.

To support the launch of SHARE Iowa and support the Community Foundation’s larger footprint, we are excited to introduce Catrina Trabal. In her role as Community Partnerships Manager at the Community Foundation, Catrina works with nonprofit organizations and the community to amplify a culture of giving in western Iowa. She helps provide resources and expertise while cultivating relationships with nonprofit partners in the SHARE Iowa network, and manages the Community Foundation’s Impact Grants process.

Catrina, a lifelong resident of Treynor, loves how our communities and nonprofits are creating a culture of philanthropic impact throughout western Iowa and says, “I am constantly amazed with the innovative and creative ideas people have to generate action to enhance the communities we live in.”

SHARE Iowa is the key resource for our community members far and near to connect to causes and communities they are passionate about. In addition to the Community Foundation for Western Iowa, SHARE Iowa is supported by other Iowa funders, including: the Charles E. Lakin Foundation, Google, Iowa Council on Foundations, and the Iowa West Foundation.

Kelsey Stupfell | TS Bank

The Community Foundation for Western Iowa is celebrating National Community Foundation Week with stories of impact, partnerships, and philanthropy. The Community Foundation is proud to feature Kelsey Stupfell, Director of Public Relations with TS Bank – this year’s sponsor of GivingTuesday712 on November 29.

Joining forces with SHARE Iowa and the Community Foundation is a perfect mission-match for TS Bank, who strongly believes in reinvesting in the communities they serve. TS Bank has granted nearly $5 Million throughout southwest Iowa since 2007.

GivingTuesday712 is a local – and global – movement that encourages people to give, collaborate, and celebrate radical generosity. SHARE Iowa, the Community Foundation’s newest initiative, helps amplify a culture of giving in western Iowa while creating lasting impact.

“Giving is one of our company’s core principles, and one we’ll always stand behind,” said Stupfell. “Working towards something bigger than ourselves really makes our efforts worthwhile. We are proud to be a community bank that plays a role in the success of our southwest Iowa communities, whether through financial services or our giving initiatives, including partnerships with SHARE Iowa.”

Stupfell added that SHARE Iowa helps connect individual donors and philanthropic leaders to area nonprofits, aids in the expansion of growing opportunities for positive change, and helps spur donor engagement in western Iowa. “TS Bank loves seeing first-hand how each community harnesses their local strengths for positive change, and we look forward to the support SHARE Iowa will provide area nonprofit organizations so they can thrive for years to come.”

Brandy Wallar | New Visions Homeless Services

The Community Foundation for Western Iowa concludes the celebration of National Community Foundation Week by spotlighting a new endowment partnership with New Visions Homeless Services (NVHS). Agency endowment funds are an effective way to create both short-and long-term sustainability for an organization.

The mission of NVHS is to provide help, hope, and opportunities to neighbors in our community who are experiencing homelessness and hunger. In early 2022, a local community leader and his wife anonymously established an endowment at the Community Foundation to support the important and innovative work that NVHS and Brandy Wallar, Interim CEO, is doing to make a difference in our community.

Wallar was elated to learn of the incredibly generous donation made to support NVHS. “Knowing that the work you do through your organization matters to the community, and that supporters are willing to invest in your mission, means the world to us,” said Wallar. “It validates the importance of serving our neighbors in need, and that donors want to see this organization succeed to serve the community into the future.”

NVHS plans to use endowment earnings through the Community Foundation to support programs, such as the community warming center, a critical service that has served several hundred people during the harsh winters in recent years.

Wallar is grateful to the Community Foundation for financially investing in western Iowa and helping facilitate relationships and learning opportunities for our local nonprofits. Wallar added, “The Community Foundation also believes in advocacy… not only listening, but responding to the ever-changing needs of our community.”

it's looking up in southwest iowa | April 2020

MORE THAN EVER Southwest Iowa is a wonderful place to live, work and play. The communities in the region offer ample opportunities and attractions such as innovative educational initiatives; a thriving philanthropic community; a robust economy with tremendous support for businesses; and an appealing quality of life for citizens of all ages. As Donna Dostal, a resident of the area and President/CEO of the Community Foundation puts it: “It’s the most amazing time to be living in Southwest Iowa.”

Amplifying Impact in our communities

"I became involved with the Community Foundation while searching for funds to restore a vacant lot on our Main Street in Oakland. The Oakland Historical Society received two grants from the Community Foundation for Western Iowa that helped turn an eyesore into an appealing garden area where people walk to, sit awhile, or even picnic. Then, my husband and I established a fund with the Community Foundation to help maintain the garden and each year the Historical Society receives a check that reflects 5% of our investment. As former teachers, we are not wealthy people, but because of the Community Foundation we are able to give back to the community that has been so good to us.

The Riverside Links Scholarship Fund through the Community Foundation is another important project that I believe in. A group of volunteers created this endowed scholarship fund that is awarded each year to a college student who has completed a two-year program and needs support to finish their education. To date, we have collected enough funds to aware a $1,000 scholarship annually. All the members of Riverside Links...believe that volunteerism and philanthropy is food for our small communities."

Gayle Strickland, Investor