To Trista Foster, there's nothing cooler than watching your community improve, and knowing you had a hand in it. She is a member of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend's Q2030 Grants Committee, a group that recently wrapped up their first year of awarding grants to area nonprofits. "It is so cool to see the impact," said Foster. "It is a great way to be involved in the community."
Committee members review grant applications monthly, narrowing down their picks and sharing their recommendations with CFGRB. It was gratifying to be part of the process, said Esmeralda Jinez, a college student and CFGRB scholarship recipient who is part of the grants committee. "I learned a lot about the different passions and people that make the Quad Cities what it is—ones I didn't even know about until we started meeting," she said. "My favorite part was knowing I'm helping to make a difference."
Selecting grant recipients didn't come without challenges. "It is hard because I wanted to say yes to everybody," Foster added, noting that the committee loves seeing organizations working together.
There was a church in Milan, for example, that wanted to purchase a van. Because they would only be using it certain days of the week, they partnered with two other organizations to share it. "They said they were going to work together and I just thought it was the neatest thing," she said. "It was a cool, creative way for people to connect and help a community prosper—all pillars of Q2030. We weren't just supporting one group—we were helping three."
Foster said it is often that she looks around and can see the impact of the Community Foundation and the donors behind it. "It is amazing how generous people are in this community and how charitably-oriented it is," she said. "People are willing to help."
The legacy gifts are especially helpful. "Those will help people for decades to come."
Q2030 Grants Committee Member Katie Selden said one of the strengths of the process is that the committee is made of a diverse group of people. "It is a serious job to consider how donor money is allocated," she said. "The committee takes pride in the process."
Selden grew up in Bettendorf, and felt she knew the community well before she was on the committee. "But I found there is much more to learn about the people and programs in our region," she said. "I had no idea the level of philanthropy from every day people who simply want to give back."
She views the community differently now. "It has strengthened the pride I have to live here," she said. "I am amazed at the passion people have to make a positive, lasting impact on our community."
Foster said she feels the same and has no plans of taking a break from the grants committee. "I love being part of it," she said. "I wish I could do more to help out. The Community Foundation has done so many great things for this community. They're the unsung heroes for so many organizations that benefit from that generosity."
Know a nonprofit who should apply for a Q2030 Grant? Get details here, and apply today.