BETTENDORF, IOWA (April 21, 2023) — Creative-arts organizations in Mercer County are invited to apply for grants from the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation, a private foundation administered by the Quad Cities Community Foundation. Up to $100,000 total will be available to organizations that participate in the collaborative grant-application process, which will be led by Mercer County Better Together (MCBT) between now and the July 14 deadline.

With a goal of supporting opportunities for Mercer County residents to engage with the creative arts, the grant program grows out of the Looser-Flake Foundation’s mission of advancing economic development and furthering cultural and educational opportunities in the area. The Looser-Flake Foundation was established by the estates of Dorothy Looser-Flake and Roberta Looser, sisters who were born and raised on a family farm near New Boston, Illinois.

“Dorothy and Roberta had a far-reaching vision for how their generosity could benefit the place they called home,” said Kelly Thompson, the Community Foundation’s vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives. “For the Community Foundation, it’s exciting to support the Looser-Flake Foundation in carrying out that vision with collaborative partners like MCBT and creative arts organizations of all shapes and sizes across Mercer County.”

“The creative arts have a unique ability to connect people, strengthen communities, and shape what 'feels like home' about life in Mercer County,” added Kyle McEwen, MCBT’s executive director. “Mercer County has long been home to people who think deeply about the world around them, feel passionately about their community, and express their perspectives with an artistic, entrepreneurial spirit. These grants can be the added horsepower our creators need to bring their work to the next level for the community to enjoy.”

With MCBT’s support and guidance, creative arts entities will submit one collaborative application, containing a number of projects that provide benefit all over the county, to the trustees of the Looser-Flake Foundation. At least five entities in or serving Mercer County must participate in the application, and the total amount granted will grow with the number of applicants, with up to $100,000 available if nine or more entities participate.

“This collaborative process can identify where creative arts entities may be able to share costs or services to bring the right person or key piece of equipment to their program,” said McEwen. “Funding through this grant can help members of our local creative arts scene broaden what they're able to offer, grow program participation, and increase visibility for their work.”

The grants will support a wide range of projects, including those that expand arts programming, expand access to arts programming, or build the capacity of arts organizations or events. Potential examples include putting on community performances, adding teachers to arts education programs, arranging field trips to museums or performances, purchasing audio-visual equipment, developing a website for an arts organization, and much more.

Interested organizations are encouraged to attend one of three in-person information sessions jointly hosted by MCBT and the Community Foundation:

  • Wednesday, May 3, 6-7PM, New Boston Community Center, 502 Main Street, New Boston, IL 61272
  • Thursday, May 4, 3-4PM, Edwards River Public Library, 412 East Main Street, Aledo, IL 61231
  • Thursday, May 4, 6-7PM, Sherrard Public Library, 501 3rd Street, Sherrard, IL 61281

Details about how to apply for the grant are now available at A recorded session about the grant program will be available on the website by Saturday, May 6.

“By launching this grant program, the Looser-Flake Foundation is drawing a direct connection between a rural community's creative arts offerings and the overall strength of its quality of life,” said McEwen. “This is an exciting opportunity that could spur community reinvestment into Mercer County's creative arts scene for years to come.”

About the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation

The Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation is a private foundation started in 2013 to serve charitable causes in Mercer County. Dorothy Looser-Flake and Roberta Looser were sisters who were born and raised on a family farm near New Boston Township, Illinois. They cared deeply about the community that gave them so much growing up and left a portion of their estates to establish the charitable foundation to support the region. Since its founding, the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation has awarded more than two million dollars to advance educational and cultural opportunities and economic development in Mercer County, Illinois.

The Quad Cities Community Foundation provides administrative and grantmaking services to the Looser-Flake Foundation, helping the trustees develop and implement strategies to fulfill their charitable mission.

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