In 1999, a group of Muscatine area residents, John Beckey, Hal Green, Mike Johanssen, Rosa Mendoza, Jim Nepple, Paul Ostrem, Mark Patton, Rick Simpson, Mike Spangler, Jim Trosen, and Katrina Wisniewski, along with help from Dick Maeglin and Elaine Terrill, first incorporated the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine (CFGM). Dedicated to helping their community, the group hoped the CFGM could help bring funding and support to organizations across the region. In the words of current CFGM Executive Director Charla Shafer, “the Community Foundation grew out of love. What each of those that have been a part of the Community Foundation family has lived through their actions is vision and gratitude for this place we call home.”
Though the CFGM has grown into a Muscatine institution, it took a lot of hard work on the part of its founders, along with community support, to shape it into the organization we know today. Jennifer Conard, Communications Coordinator for the CFGM detailed, “these dedicated people donated time, office space, and money to help get the Community Foundation off the ground. It was not an easy road. There was a time early on when the future of the Community Foundation was in jeopardy. But very generous donors stepped forward and laid a foundation for us to flourish and grow to what we are today.”
Over the past twenty years, the CFGM’s growth has proven spectacular. From a tiny non-profit, the CFGM has come to encompass numerous separate charitable funds that contain a combined $38 million. Conard elaborated, “In just the past eighteen months, we have granted $1,750,000 back into Muscatine County. We currently have 245 funds that support various community building [programs] . . .. We also granted over $440,000 in scholarships to students at Muscatine, West Liberty, Wilton, and Louisa-Muscatine High Schools.”
To celebrate these impressive achievements, the CFGM hosted a twentieth anniversary celebration at its annual meeting. Along with dinner and a look back over the CFGM’s various achievements, the celebration also provided a time for the CFGM to give out its Great Initiative, Youth Initiative, and Tom Hendricks Community Service awards.
While the CFGM feels proud of all they have achieved over the last twenty years, they know they still have a lot of good they can do in the years ahead. Schafer summed up these goals best:
We want to honor the stewardship of those that came before us, amplifying today through leadership and capital deployment impact, while anchoring the long-term sustainability of our evolving community. Our goals for the future remain the same as those of our founders, to enhance this community that we call home. We will leverage our resources of talent, time, and funding to strategically fulfill this mission.