Meet our Volunteers – Mackenzie Gibson


Mackenzie Gibson and Susan Skora – Big Brothers Big Sisters program

My name is Mackenzie Gibson and I am a youth office volunteer at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend. My work at the Foundation includes editing donor stories, website content population, and other small tasks around the office.

My all time favorite thing to do while I’m volunteering is reading the donor stories. I never knew there were so many kind and giving people in our community, and so many opportunities to give back. It motivates me to do more.

I am currently attending Davenport Central High School as a junior. I love love love Chemistry; however my biggest passion is English and Writing. I am a cadet in our school’s Army JROTC program, which I had never thought I would come to enjoy when I was going into high school. Along with that, I am also a member of the Davenport Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. CAP is a non-profit organization that is an official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. The structure of the program is military-oriented and I get many unique training opportunities as a cadet. I have volunteered at the Quad City Air Show as well as others, I’ve had the opportunity to fly our squadron’s own Cessna plane numerous times, I’ve gotten training in search and rescue, and I have gained valuable ethics and leadership skills that I can use for the rest of my life.

Along with my military interests, I am also a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program with my “Big”, Susan. We have been happily matched together for about 3 and a half years. Susan is a big supporter for my interests and gives me great advice about how to pursue my dreams.


C/MSgt Gibson – Davenport Composite Squadron (Civil Air Patrol)


Confused about the Community Foundation?

Blog by Natalie Anderson, Director of Communications

Blog by Natalie Anderson, Director of Communications

Blog post by Natalie Anderson, Director of Communications at CFGRB

How many of you have a vague awareness of an “organization” that gives out money to nonprofits…and what is it called anyway? The Community River Bend, River Bend Bank, or does it have something to do with the transit buses we see driving around the QC?

I’m here to help answer your questions.

Our nonprofit organization is the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend. While you may tend to think of a nonprofit as something tangible, (i.e. warm meals on a cold night, an after school program at the gym, transitional housing units, etc.) – we don’t physically serve the meals, educate the children after school, or maintain housing units. And for you business-minded individuals, we are not an actual “banking” institution. Yes, many of those components are part of what we do, however; we are linked to these organizations by the charitable gifts from donors and grant money distributed to support ongoing nonprofit missions.

Here’s a sampling of how grant money from the Community Foundation assists local nonprofit organizations as they support our community:

  • Convection ovens at local shelters serving our community’s homeless residents.
  • Training and therapy equipment for children at a local therapy center.
  • Meals for volunteers participating in a neighborhood housing rebuild.
  • Musical instrument repair for donated instruments to be loaned to students who can’t afford them.
  • Summer camp for children with disabilities.

And the list goes on…but most importantly, we provide a way for charitable hearts to support their favorite nonprofits today, tomorrow, and years from now.

Our focus: connecting people who care with causes that matter.

So, I told you who we are, but maybe you’re wondering why you need to know? Well, let me explain…

In 2012, the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend granted money to 746 different nonprofit organizations in our area. SEVEN HUNDRED and FORTY SIX! That’s a lot! Think about it…746 nonprofit organizations and causes supporting the quality of life in the Quad Cities and surrounding regions! It’s no wonder we have such a great community to live, work, play, and raise a family!

So there you go….how many of you are surprised that we even have 746 nonprofits in our community? I certainly was when I read the grant report!

Since we aren’t a bank, are you still a little unclear about where that grant money comes from?

Well, it comes from donors. People like you and me…couples, individuals, families, corporations, loved ones who have left their savings to charity, and many more. Each of our donors are unique, but that’s what allows us to help so many different nonprofit organizations. Some of our donors prefer that their money be granted back to support local arts and culture. For example: Figge Art Museum, Quad City Arts, Rock Island Art Guild, Niabi Zoological Society, Colonel Davenport Historical Foundation, Family Museum of Arts and Science, and many more. Other donors prefer that their money be granted back to whatever nonprofit organization has the greatest need at the time. These are considered “unrestricted” donor gifts and are part of our Community Impact Endowment – and anyone can give a gift to this charitable fund. A panel of Community Foundation volunteers regularly review nonprofit grant applications to determine which nonprofit organizations are in most need of the Community Impact Endowment dollars at a given time.

Starting to get the hang of how the money goes in and out? Good. So now we can break it down even more.

In 2012, the Community Foundation gave out 1,448 Core Mission, Impact, and donor-advised grants to support our local nonprofits’ missions in our community. The math shows us that’s an average of almost 2 grants this year per each of the 746 nonprofits! Of course, not all nonprofits received 2 grants, and some received more than 2…but moral of the story…it’s not a one-and-done type of grantmaking process here at the Community Foundation. We are here to support our local nonprofits throughout their various mission-related work projects.

Tired of talking numbers? Hold on for just one more….all you “get-to-the-point” folks have been waiting for this, and I’ve made you sweat it out until the end!

So how much money was given to our local nonprofits with those 1,448 grants?

Drum roll please…

$4,622,583 granted to local nonprofits in our community in 2012!

So now you know…the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend works to “connect people who care with causes that matter,” and we do it to the tune of $4.6 million!

Thanks for reading and visiting our blog! I hope this helped you learn a little more about “that place that gives out all that money!” If you are interested in supporting the Community Impact Endowment or starting an Endowment of your own, visit our website at and explore! You can also stop by our office (we are behind Schnuck’s and next to THE National Bank) or call us at 563-326-2840, we’d love to hear from you!

Ready to apply for a nonprofit grant? Visit to learn about Core Mission grants, Impact grants, and other grant opportunities.

And of course, this is only a portion of the work we do at the Community Foundation. We have scholarships, collaboration support, youth philanthropy and much more!

Community Foundation of the Great River Bend
852 Middle Rd., Ste. 100
Bettendorf, IA 52722

Ph: 563-326-2840

Achieve Quad Cities (AQC) Leadership Cabinet

Guest Blog by Matt Mendenhall, Vice President of Programs at CFGRB.

Who would you want around a strategy table to improve education in the Quad Cities? School district superintendents? Check! Business leaders? Check! College and university presidents? Check! Local funders? Check!

The Achieve Quad Cities Leadership Cabinet (AQC) meets regularly to improve our region’s educational outcomes. While local school districts provide the heart of students’ formal education, educational outcomes also depend on broader learning experiences found in the community. The Cabinet is helping to strengthen a Quad Cities network of effective, community-based supports that help students succeed. We hope that the Quad Cities’ capacity to act as a regional community will help us to compete for national education grants, promote a consistent message about the value of education, and identify the services that make the biggest differences for our students. Thanks to the Cabinet members who are serving our community in this way!

The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend (CFGRB) provides both funding and leadership to AQC efforts. A CFGRB Board decision in 2008 to support the community’s efforts to improve high school graduation rates for the region has evolved into multiple stakeholder teams that work to expand access to high quality career experiences, strengthen parenting supports, expand middle school mentoring, measure regional education indicators, align strategies to increase higher education completion, and support for other projects that promote educational success. After 5 years of observing this community’s commitment to education, the CFGRB Board has decided to continue to support the work of AQC. If you have an interest in learning more or supporting this work to improve our region’s educational outcomes, please call the Community Foundation at 563-326-2840 or visit


A recent Achieve Quad Cities Leadership Cabinet meeting.

Guest Blog by Kodie Wittenauer, Iowa AmeriCorps State of Promise Member at CFGRB

The Illowa  (IPPP) had a recent lunch and learn on Thursday, March 7th titled “Nonprofit Marketing Strategies for Philanthropic Success.” This awesome presentation was facilitated by Ted Stephens III & Matt Ehlman of The Numad Group along with the Community Foundation’s very own Director of Communications, Natalie Anderson!  The Numad Group works with organizations to advance their mission through strategic fundraising and integrated communications. Ted and Matt are Principals with The Numad Group and were chosen to help facilitate the Community Foundation’s new website. Natalie has helped guide our entire office through the process of figuring out what we want to put on the website and how to do that in an effective manner.  We all can relate to being bogged down by a process that doesn’t align with the outcomes desired; so kudos to Natalie, Matt, and Ted for helping the Community Foundation communicate and share our mission so that we can better meet our community’s needs!

For additional information on the Community Foundation’s website project, email Natalie Anderson, Director of Communications. 

For additional information on The Numad Group visit, or email


Natalie, Ted, and Matt presenting to the IPPP group during a Lunch and Learn event.

Guest Blog by Kelly Thompson, Iowa AmeriCorps intern at CFGRB

AmeriCorps members from all over the Quad Cities came together last month to make Martin Luther King Day a day ON, not a day off! The “What’s My Mission Now?” event was created by the Davenport Volunteer Connection (DVC) to help returning military veterans integrate into the civilian workforce. The event provided a panel on transitioning out of military life, connecting with educational and career resources, and civilianizing your resume. After the panel, veterans could visit booths to learn more about community resources for veterans and work with experts who reviewed and critiqued their resumes.

Following the Community Foundation’s emphasis on working through partnerships, in December our AmeriCorps members joined with others serving at Friendly House, the American Red Cross, and the City of Davenport to plan how we could support this event in various ways. We helped promote it, spreading the message to the general public and to organizations with connections to military veterans. We helped set up beforehand and tear down afterwards. We greeted and guided event attendees to the resources available, provided fun activities for children in the child care area, and even hosted a booth at the resource fair to let veterans know about additional options for national service – namely, AmeriCorps!

Not only did veterans get some great knowledge and support at the event itself, but Kim Hatfield from the DVC says, “From the coverage on TV I did receive several calls from other military members in the community that I was able to share resources with. A few businesses also called that want to make hiring prior military members a priority! You never quite know how an event like this will make an impact in the community.” The impact was intergenerational, as at least two AmeriCorps members brought their children to volunteer. One proudly told people all day, “I’m volunteering!” The kids are learning early the importance and power of volunteering!

How did you “make it a day ON” for the MLK Day of Service? If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, the Davenport Volunteer Connection provides the whole Quad City Area with an easy way to connect to volunteer opportunities. You can search opportunities by date or area of interest here.


AmeriCorps interns – Kelly and Kodie!

Guest Blog by Kodie Wittenauer (Iowa AmeriCorps State of Promise Member at CFGRB)

We are so excited that Teens for Tomorrow (T4T) had its first radio interview yesterday with Sean Patrick for the Morning in the Cities program on Rewind 93.9 WYEC!  T4T is a youth philanthropy group with 35 members from area high schools.  The students meet once a month at area nonprofit organizations to learn about the services in our community.  At the end of the school year, the teens award $10,000 to local non profits.  The grant applications can be found online at and are being accepted through March 1, 2013.

Rewind 93.9 WYEC interviewed two teen members and the student director yesterday morning.  Brady Frieden discussed how T4T has impacted him not only as a member but now as the student director of this program.  Julianne Delessio and Bryce Verlinden are members who discussed what T4T means to them and what they have learned.  As second year members, Julianne and Bryce have participated in the granting process previously and value the impact T4T can make on local nonprofits.

We are so proud of the teens and can’t wait to see how they decide the grant recipients this year.  Bryce, Julianne, and Brady did a remarkable job representing Teens for Tomorrow on Rewind 93.9 WYEC and thank you to Sean Patrick for this opportunity to discuss the wonderful things local teens are doing in our community!

For more information about T4T, please visit or call 563-326-2840.

L to R: Sean Patrick (93.9FM), Brady Frieden (T4T Student Director), Bryce Verlinden and Julianne Delessio (both T4T members)

L to R: Sean Patrick (93.9FM), Brady Frieden (T4T Student Director), Bryce Verlinden and Julianne Delessio (both T4T members)

CFGRB Endowment Challenge Raises Over $1 Million in Permanent Support for the Quad City Community

Supporters of fifteen nonprofit organizations contributed over $1 million to help those nonprofits succeed in the 2012 Endowment Challenge issued by the Community Foundation. The endowments funded by these donations and $75,000 in matching grants from the CFGRB will create a permanent, consistent source of income, allowing organizations to fulfill their missions for years to come.

Nonprofits that raised $15,000 in new gifts for their endowment at CFGRB received a $5,000 matching grant for their endowment. Alternatively, nonprofits that raised $30,000 in new gifts had the option to add the $5,000 matching grant to their endowment or use it for current operations. Every year, 4.5% of endowment assets held at the CFGRB are distributed back out to the community to support the work of nonprofit organizations, while the principal remains intact as a permanent resource.

Because gifts had to come from at least ten people, organizations had to spread the message of the importance of endowment. Jay Morrow, Superintendent of United Township, had conversations with alumni about how they could support the United Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to students and mini-grants to teachers. “We let them know that they could be significant in the future of our foundation, giving tomorrow’s students the same opportunities that they had.”

CFGRB Vice President of Programs Matt Mendenhall agrees. “While the $5,000 award is certainly helpful to these organizations, increased stakeholder awareness of endowment as permanent support for a mission they care about will have much greater value over the long run.” In total, 397 donors contributed to the 2012 Endowment Challenge.

For all but one organization, the 2012 Endowment Challenge was their first time raising funds specifically for endowment. Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad Cities, already an Endowment Partner, took the opportunity to grow their endowment. “In today’s economy, a lot of organizational energy is focused on the ‘now’ – making sure we can provide services today,“ says George McDoniel, Executive Director. “The Community Foundation through their challenge match encourages us to focus energy on securing our future with endowment.”

Both Endowment Partners and CFGRB staff stressed the value of the partnerships they built through this process. Barb Melbourne, Vice President of Development at the CFGRB, says, “I am very proud of our partners who committed to building endowment for a sustainable future.” Mark Drake, Executive Director of Youth Hope, says, “We are so excited about our new endowment with the Community Foundation!  We received a generous match, a new partnership, new income, and unlimited long term potential.”

Each Endowment Partner who met the match will be featured on the CFGRB Facebook page as “Endowment Partner of the Week” beginning January 28th. To learn more about the impact of these organizations and how you can make a difference, Like our Facebook page.

2012 CFGRB Endowment Challenge

Bettendorf Community Schools Foundation

Catholic Diocese of Davenport

Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad Cities

Eastern Iowa Community College District Foundation

Family Resources, Inc.

German-American Heritage Center

Habitat for Humanity

James E. and Carol A. Bowe Endowment for HDC

Midwest Writing Center

Oakdale Memorial Gardens

Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church – Davenport

Scott County Family Y

United Education Foundation

Women’s Choice Center

Youth Hope

CFGRB 2012 Endowment Challenge – By the numbers:

Successful Endowment Partners: 15

Total donors: 397

Total match: $75,000