“It’s a great day at the Community Foundation. This is Melanie. How can I help you?”
Call the offices of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend—or step foot in the office just off of Middle Road in Bettendorf—and chances are you’re going to be greeted with a friendly voice and a warm smile from Melanie Jones (pictured right).
Because every day really is a great day at CFGRB.
Jones, alongside fellow staff member Cory Sellers (pictured left), is one of the first people visitors interact with when coming to the Community Foundation. “I’ve worked in the nonprofit world my whole career, and I have seen first hand the impact that individuals can make on a community,” Jones said. “I enjoy helping people and when you are on the front lines—it’s rewarding.”
Sellers, who has been at the Community Foundation for three years, agreed. “The staff here is amazing,” she said. “It’s a rewarding job—to work alongside our team, donors, affiliate advisors and more to enhance our community.”
Before her work at the Community Foundation, Sellers worked on the Rock Island Arsenal and as an administrative professional for a family-owned retail shop. “It’s great to be part of the nonprofit community,” she said.
One of the best aspects has been working closely with the Geographic Affiliate Funds. Sellers was born and raised in Geneseo, Illinois, and is now raising her own family there. “I have a tremendous amount of hometown pride,” said Sellers. “I love to see small-town leaders contribute to their communities in big ways.”
Jones, on the other hand, has been at the foundation for more than one year now, and is often the first point of contact for people. “I want to provide them with the best experience possible,” she said.
Sellers often interacts with donors, local business leaders, volunteers, members of organizations who have funds at the foundation, or people who are dropping off grant application information. “I get the opportunity to come face-to-face with people in our community who are invested in our community—women and men, young and old, who want to leave a legacy to impact future generations,” she said. “It’s a neat thing to be part of.”
Jones has lived in the Quad Cities her whole life, but working at the foundation has helped her fall in love with the region all over again. “Coming to the Community Foundation under the leadership of Sherry Ristau, our president and CEO, has heightened my awareness of how awesome this region is,” she said. “When you live here all of your life, you can sometimes forget that.”
It’s easy to get comfortable with the status quo, she added. “You go to the same restaurants and entertainment,” she said. “I’m excited about the opportunities our leadership is offering to us and the community. It’s making us more aware of how great we are as a region.”
She works closely with the Community Foundation Board Members and collectively with other CFGRB staff. “I learn something every day from having that collective pool of knowledge to draw from,” she said. “Whether it is in a meeting with co-workers, a board meeting or a work group, it is amazing. I am constantly growing.”
She hopes that the interaction between the foundation’s staff and members of the community not connected with the foundation becomes more frequent. She remembers a time when she wasn’t all that familiar with their work. “It took a while to get my head wrapped around what all we do here—and in our community,” she said. “I want our relationships across the region to become stronger… and better.”
Jones also has high hopes for the future of the foundation. “It is really all about taking care of our community,” Jones added. “I want to make sure that when people leave our office, they are in good hands and that we’re good stewards of whatever it is they’re hoping to accomplish.”
Our professional staff at the Community Foundation can help you leave a legacy for our community, and the causes that matter most to you. Learn more about our team, and contact us today to find out how we can help you.