There's something satisfying about walking around your own community and seeing what a little generosity has accomplished. For Aaron Horman, a former advisory board member and current Executive Secretary of the Cedar County Community Foundation, it is a reminder of why he continues his work with the foundation. "The foundation has allowed us to make a lot of positive change in the community," Horman said.
Cedar County has been a geographic affiliate fund of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend since 2005 and it is exciting to see continued progress, Horman said. "We certainly are growing."
The foundation was originally set up to distribute the state's county endowment dollars, but has grown to include private endowments and yearly grant distributions. Horman, who has been involved with the foundation for almost a decade, said he has served on many boards and worked in several organizations, and understands the challenges of raising funds. "I know how hard it is," he said, so it is encouraging and refreshing to think of the nearly $1 million the foundation has given during the last 10 years.
A lot of the funding goes to small projects, he said. "Oftentimes we fund emergency rescue equipment, programming in schools, and projects for the city government," he said. "All of that wouldn't happen without this money."
Advisory Board Chairman David Shinker agreed. "It is putting philanthropy to good use," he said. "There are a lot of good projects and it is very difficult for nonprofits to do what they would like to do. It is rewarding to watch the region transform as a result of our efforts."
One of the projects recently funded was at the fairgrounds, where they were able to upgrade the electrical system throughout the grounds and bring everything up to code thanks to a grant from the foundation. "They have a lot of visitors and being able to provide a safe environment is at the top of their list—and ours," he said.
Another favorite project over the past year was a greenhouse constructed by the local Future Farmers of America (FFA) group. "Kids grow plants and learn," he said. "That was a great project as well."
As word spreads through the community, more grant applications have come in each year. The foundation used to receive about 20 applications during the spring, but that number has grown to 50 or more during the last couple of years. It is a good problem to have, Shinker said.
Horman agreed. "For so many of these groups, every little bit they receive they are so grateful for."
Learn more about Cedar County Community Foundation on their new website by clicking here.