BETTENDORF, IOWA (June 10, 2021) — “What’s next?”

From the day we activated the Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund in early March 2020, that question has never been far from our lips. Now, after more than a year of uncertainty, anticipation, and planning, with our region and the wider country in the process of safely reopening, the Community Foundation brings the fund for COVID-19 relief to a close. As we do, we find ourselves taking a moment to look back and celebrate what you and donors made possible. With this email and on our website, it is our privilege to report the profound impact of the generosity shown by our community.

Re-reading the many stories we published over the last 15 months, I’m inspired not just by the astonishing generosity we saw from all corners of our community but also by the overwhelming collaboration that brought us together in support of a common goal.

At the very beginning, a partnership among the Community Foundation, the Regional Development Authority, and United Way Quad Cities laid the groundwork with $100,000 from each non-profit funder. In April, KWQC-TV6 and the Quad-City Times pitched in to help us run a 24-hour giving event that raised another $150,000. As the far-reaching impact of the pandemic mounted, we could not have continued raising money and awarding grants without the help of each businessorganizationfamily, and community leader who gave to the fund or inspired others with matching challenges. And most important are the thousands of people from across the Quad Cities who came together to share what they had, some even donating their stimulus checks, to provide for what their community needed in these days of profound challenge.

All told, our coming together meant the Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund was able to distribute just over $1.8 million to support crisis relief and recovery. To each and every donor who made a gift — large or small — to the fund, thank you.

In getting grants to where they were most needed, collaboration among the community’s emergency managers, health departments, and Disaster Ready Quad Cities played a vital role, too. Without them and the networks they coordinated, we could not have identified as many needs and opportunities as we did or crafted some of the solutions we funded.

It’s hard to appreciate the true power of collaboration without a closer look at the people behind the scenes. Take Hugh Stafford and John Kessler, whose idea to build desks for local students transformed into a force for good when community organizations offered their knowledge of student need, area businesses donated supplies, and Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities added capacity to meet demand. Stories like this are a testament to the idea that if we give generously of the resources we have and use relationships to bring them where they’re needed, we build a community that is resilient in the face of whatever challenges may arise. That’s the power of collaboration.

Looking back at what we were able to achieve during these difficult months, all of us at the Community Foundation can’t help but return to that familiar question: “What’s next?”

The work of recovering from the pandemic isn’t over, and just as we activated the Disaster Recovery Fund during the historic flood of 2019, we will likely need to activate it again someday. Yet rather than try to predict the unknowns that the future may bring, we are focused on what we know for certain: that when we all put the best of ourselves forward through generosity of time, talent, and treasure and collaborate with each other, we can and do transform our region for the better. Our hope is that we live by this truth not just when crisis demands it but each and every day.

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