by Sherry Ristau, President/CEO
There's something about spring. Change is literally happening before our eyes—from the azaleas and lilies blooming in preparation of summer to the graduates being ushered onto the next stage of life.
There are things happening every single day in the Quad Cities that signal great things ahead. Every day at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend is also a reminder that the future is bright. I don't need to look any further than the long list of local high school and college students who have been awarded nearly a quarter million dollars in scholarships this year thanks to the generosity of our donors.
The list of recipients and their academic achievements and volunteer work paints an optimistic picture for our region and this country. This is a group of people looking to the future by preparing themselves now to be leaders, givers and community organizers through hard work in school, lending a hand in their community, and keeping their ears open for where there is need.
They are not alone. Applications for the next Teens for Tomorrow cohort have been arriving this month. These are high school students energized and curious about how philanthropy works in their community—they are clearly eager and ready to go out and do the groundwork to help local organizations and individuals succeed. We are more than ready to partner with them in the fall and walk them through the process.
It's also a great time of year to get outside and see what our beautiful community has to offer. I am amazed each year at the number of festivals, farmers markets and concerts offered in our community. One event we are honored to have a hand in each year is the annual Village in Bloom Arts Festival held in the Village of East Davenport.
The festival's roots exemplify what this Community Foundation is about—continuing legacies through generosity, tradition and a shared community vision. The festival, which is supported in part by the Isabel Bloom Art Education Fund at the Community Foundation, celebrates the lives of John and Isabel Bloom who raised their family and created art in the East Village.
The event was held earlier this month and included performances, make-and-take children's art activities, and exhibitions of John and Isabel's artwork, all in an effort to encourage young people to get involved in the arts and honor this influential family.
Some people tell me that this time of year is too busy. I get that. Our days fill up with finals and graduations, baseball games, potlucks and end-of-year picnics. But I urge you to find joy in the little things, the smell of the first cuts of green grass, the swell of the Mississippi, and the energy building in this city as we stand on the cusp of summer.
Most of all, enjoy the fact that we live in a region brimming with opportunity, a younger generation poised to become great leaders and a community of generous people.
Please, stop and smell the roses. I'll be there too.
Photo above: President and CEO Sherry Ristau (center) with Katie Kiley (left) and Christy Ralston (right), the recipient of the 2016 John R. Kiley Memorial Scholarship.