Racial Justice Fund established; $25,000 pledged

MUSCATINE, Iowa–The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine announces the creation of the Racial Justice Fund to advance racial justice, equity, and inclusion across Muscatine and Louisa Counties.

Community members, businesses, organizations, and churches interested in changing lives and being part of the solution may donate to this fund and have their dollars doubled through a $25,000 matching pledge by the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.

The Community Foundation will grant funds to qualified, charitable organizations whose work acts as an accelerator to reduce barriers towards achieving racial justice and centers on uplifting the most marginalized in our service area. To ensure we move forward collectively, and address a broad range of opportunities, priority will go to grants that collaborate across a networked alliance, connect multiple issues, and/or support programs led by people of color. Grant applications will open July 15, 2020.

An Advisory Committee established for this fund includes members from various county and community organizations including UnityPoint – Trinity Muscatine Public Health, Muscatine Community College, Muscatine Center for Social Action, LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), Diversity Center of Muscatine, and Stanley Center for Peace and Security. The committee will identify additional members each year to ensure diverse and representative membership.

Rosa Mendoza, Diversity Service Center of Iowa Executive Director and LULAC member, stated: “Throughout my 26 years as a service provider, I have seen the increase of diversity in Muscatine. We are a community of many nations. And as I saw the protests erupt around our nation on Black Lives Matter, I can’t deny the fact that it really hits home. As a person of color, I have experienced discrimination and have witnessed it. As a resident of Muscatine for 43 years, I am moved by the leadership and dedication of Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine in their commitment to address the need for racial justice, equity and inclusion. May we be of open minds and hearts as we stand together in solidarity.”

Muscatine County ranks as 6th most ethnic and economically diverse County in Iowa, with Louisa County rated 8th, according to Niche.com. One-half of the children enrolled in Muscatine County schools, and nearly one-third of children in Louisa County schools, in 2019-2020 identified as non-white.

“The bedrock of the Community Foundation is improving the quality of life in Muscatine County. To this end, one of the five core values that drives our work is fostering a deep respect for all people across the community,” said Charla Schafer, Community Foundation Executive Director: “The Racial Justice Fund will serve as a catalyst by deepening conversations, engaging bold ideas in eliminating racial disparities, and expanding learning platforms to collectively build proximity and center the voices of those often overlooked. The work done today will strengthen lives and better our tomorrow.”

To learn more about this fund, donate and have your money matched, or apply for a grant, visit our website https://www.muscatinecommunityfoundation.org/racial-justice-fund/, stop in our office or mail checks 208 W. 2nd St., Suite 213, Muscatine, IA 52761, or call 563-264-3863.