As Jill McLaughlin wrapped up her second board meeting as chairperson of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend earlier this month, she was more confident than ever that she was in the right place—serving alongside a group of people with hearts for the Quad Cities. "We have a tremendous privilege, and responsibility to do work that transforms our region—that allows our community to flourish," she said.
McLaughlin took over as board chairperson earlier this year from board member Pete Wessels.
She has served in numerous leadership and service roles in the community, including vice chair for the Board of Trustees at St. Ambrose University, and the board of directors at the University of Iowa Foundation. She has also been president of the Quad City Symphony, director of the Putnam Museum in Davenport, the United Way of Scott and Rock Island counties, and chapter chairperson of the Quad Cities Red Cross.
Serving on the Community Foundation board has been a natural fit for her, and has given her a voice at the table as a woman and long-term community member. "I get the opportunity to see the very best of our community—the people from all backgrounds and walks of life who work every single day to help their fellow Quad Citizens live in a good way," she said. "Our work serves an important purpose—supporting good ideas and good work. And we get to fund them thanks to the generosity of our community."
One of McLaughlin's goals as board chairperson is to support the growth of endowment dollars, specifically the Community Impact Fund. "I believe we have to think more about tomorrow, today," she said. "Endowment dollars are critical to our work—and the work of any nonprofit—because they are unrestricted. A gift to the Community Impact Fund says, 'We believe in your work. We trust that you will be good stewards of our legacy... of our hopes and our dreams.'
"We take that responsibility very seriously," she added.
McLaughlin feels strong enough about the merits and purpose of the Community Impact Fund that she makes a gift each year in honor of her late husband Ray McLaughlin, who passed away in 2015. He was a lifelong supporter of numerous nonprofits, community-minded, and "generous to a fault," McLaughlin recalled.
"Ray loved this community so much—and we both have always carried a belief that we should support people moving the dial on issues we care about: education, the arts, and the church," she said, to name a few. "Ray and I got to make decisions about what we wanted to support, and it is neat for me to continue to do that with the rest of the board at the Community Foundation."
McLaughlin said she never has to be concerned about where the dollars are going when she donates to the Community Impact Fund at the Community Foundation. "I know that the Community Foundation is going to make the very best decision for our community," she said. "I know that all too well because I see the staff and board making strong connections in the community, asking important questions, and making decisions that have an impact."
It's just one of the reasons why McLaughlin said she is looking forward to leading the board. "I'll be able to bring my perspective to decisions that the Community Foundation is making on behalf of so many great people in our community who have left their legacies in our hands," she said. "It is truly an honor."
Learn more about how you can invest in the community through the Community Impact Fund by calling us at 563/326-2840.