A Region that is Connected

Kelly ThompsonBy Kelly Thompson, Director of Programs

How can I connect people? How can I, in ways large and small, strengthen this region by helping people choose to come together?

These are questions I ask myself every day. As all of us at the Community Foundation strive to support our community’s philanthropists, one of the challenges we face is the ability to draw people together from different sectors. How do we help people—from businesses to nonprofits to civic organizations—see the potential in pooling their ideas and resources?

This isn’t a new idea, of course. In the Quad Cities, it’s not uncommon to see not-for-profits collaborate for greater benefits to their clients, to see schools work together on a project, to see local businesses take advantage of common opportunities. Now, we stand poised to see even greater collaboration across sectors.

It’s time to tie it all together, to bridge the river, to weave together our strengths. CFGRB can drive this. Actually, this has been the core of our work for 50 years, introducing donors to important needs, agencies to one another, bright young dreamers to seasoned doers. It’s why I am excited about Q2030, an effort that will break down more barriers between the different sectors of the community.

Across the Quad Cities, I have witnessed creative ways people have connected with others who are different from them. The Quad Cities Housing Cluster stands as a shining example. Made up of organizations that provide homes and fight homelessness—for-profit and not-for-profit developers, financial institutions, service providers and funders—this collaboration proves that when we respect relationships with deep history, and attack old problems in new ways, transformation can happen.

CFGRB recently chose to build upon this cross-sector collaboration through our Transformation Grants. Their member agencies needed to provide more homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing services—to make sure people escape
homelessness quickly or never face that devastation in the first place. In 2015, we funded the Quad Cities Housing Cluster to do just that—and we are already seeing incredible impacts (see sidebar). These Quad Citizens stand as an example that none of us can do it alone—but together, we can make a huge difference (read more about that here).

The right relationships, paired with the right resources, will transform a life.

In each of our personal and professional lives, we have our own responsibilities. It can be hard and time-consuming to widen our focus, but it’s worth it.

At CFGRB, we’re committing to more meaningful partnerships. Stronger collaborations. Bigger results. I hope you’ll join us in that effort. Let’s work together.

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


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