A Community that is Creative

Randy MooreBy Randy Moore, President of Iowa American Water, CFGRB Board Member

We are on the cusp of something great.

The Community Foundation has a role to play in the development of our community, and one of the ways we can be a pillar of strength for our region is by being a philanthropic leader that includes all people, invests in and develops leaders, and is creative in the way it approaches local and regional challenges. We have a tremendous opportunity to not only send a message of inclusiveness, but to lead by example.

I am not alone in this effort. As we live our mission, our CFGRB team has been encouraged and reminded that every time we walk outside the doors of the Community Foundation, we have an opportunity to share our message. That means spending time in the community, spreading the message that we are here, and that we welcome and need voices from every area of every city. Any good organization will understand this—that you have to go outside the four walls of your operation to realize your mission. When we spend time in the community, we return to our work with creative insights, better ideas, and ways to enhance our mission. Most of all, we include people we wouldn't have included otherwise, simply because we took the time to connect with them.

Our work now is to be creative in the way we extend our reach to include our community in dialogue on how to be better, and make our region aware of the ways we can support them. Our aim is to find ways that meet needs head on, and to find the people and organizations that have fallen through the gaps. Ascentra Credit Union is one example. When their President and CEO Paul Lensmeyer passed away a few years ago, they sought a meaningful way to honor his legacy and make an impact on the community. They turned a $2 million life insurance policy into an endowment that has begun enhancing educational needs in the region (read more about that here).

Through their philanthropy, they are saying that our young people matter. And that education and mentorship is a means toward a bright future for our region.

That needs to happen more. I would like to see this region become a hub of growth and development for all people, young and old.

It is often said that America is a melting pot, but I have a different perspective. We're not a melting pot. We're a salad bowl. We are all in this together—but every one maintains their identity and strengths. We are unique in our history, background and make up, but one in mission and effort. There is strength in that.

At CFGRB, we will continue to drive that point home—from the way we communicate to how we award grants, from how we seek out needs that might be matched with a willing donor, to being a voice at the table, particularly for our young people, on the more serious issues facing this community. We will be a better region because of it.

Read more essays from our Report to the Community by clicking here.


"It's amazing how something small can become something great. It blossoms from people caring."

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Did You Know?

Robert and Hazel Cowles knew they wanted to support the community's needs long into the future, so they turned to the Community Foundation to meet their charitable goals.
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