The LincolnWay Community Foundation on Monday doled out more than $30,000 in grants to 16 local nonprofit organizations and celebrated the leadership abilities displayed by six young adults.

The 2019 grant recipients and “Leaders Under 40” were announced during the foundation’s annual awards ceremony at Springbrook Country Club. 

The foundation this year awarded a total of $30,380 in grant money. Since 2006, the foundation has awarded grants totaling $300,150, according to Greg Barnes, vice president for the foundation.

Distribution of grants

$5,000 toward the Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library Expansion project. Barnes said it is the first installment toward a five-year, $25,000 total pledge to the library project.

$3,000 to the Grand Mound Community Historical Museum helps allay the costs of moving the replica of a historic train depot into the city from land owned by Steve Kent, a foundation board member. Steve Kent’s father, Don, commissioned the building of the train depot 26 years ago.

$2,500 to the DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation that organizes the purchase of 245 bike helmets every year for the past six years. The helmets are distributed to second-graders. 

$2,500 to the city of DeWitt Police Department for a tactical vest.

$2,500 to the Low Moor Volunteer Fire Department to help with costs associated with the replacement of an ambulance.

$2,500 to the Calamus Wheatland Community School District for an Americans with Disability Act (ADA)-compliant playground.

$2,000 to the Grand Mound Volunteer Fire Department for a fire department vehicle water pump and motor upgrade.

$2,000 to Charlotte/Goose Lake First Responders for vacuum immobilization splints and a soft stretcher.

$1,500 to Concerned DeWitt Citizens for its food pantry and its crisis-assistance and extra-milk programs.

$1,500 to St. Paul First Congregational United Church of Christ in Wheatland for a summer lunch program.

$1,000 to the Paul Skeffington Memorial Race Foundation to help allay costs of setting up the 2019 Paul Skeffington Memorial Race.

$1,000 to the Central DeWitt School District FIRST Robotics Booster Club for the robotics team’s 2019-2020 season.

$1,000 to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clinton for support and school-based mentoring in Clinton County.

$1,000 to the Clinton County VNA Foundation for the Flu-Free immunization program at local schools.

$1,000 to the Clinton Substance Abuse Council Inc. toward costs associated with the development of the Camanche-DeWitt Coalition.

$380 to St. Joseph School in DeWitt for a STEM Enhancements program.

Youthful exuberance

Six young leaders were recognized for excellence in their field of work, involvement in their communities and collaborative spirit, including:

Justin Butt, owner of Charlotte Locker and Butt’s Meat in DeWitt, whose passion to support small businesses motivates him to sell many locally-owned products. He is a member of the Charlotte Volunteer Fire Department, who helped lead many fundraising events after tragedy struck in January. He actively supports charity benefits, nonprofit organizations and school groups. He coaches the basketball and baseball teams of his three children.

April Carpenter, whose enthusiastic can-do spirit enhances the many activities that the DeWitt Chamber and Development Company is involved in. Outside of work, April is a vocal cheerleader for her community of Wheatland. It is not unusual for her to be busy each weeknight at committee meetings or volunteering at a community event. She is a Cub Scout leader and is very actively involved in her church, and was the driving force behind the creation of a summer lunch program that also received a LincolnWay grant.

Stacie Cronkleton, who purchased an abandoned building in downtown Lost Nation and transformed it into her permanent studio for The Photography Mill. Her talents recently were recognized when she was named the 2019 grand-prize winner in the ACI Laboratories “National Adorable Contest.”  She remains active in numerous community organizations, including serving  as the current chair of the Lost Nation Hometown Pride Committee since its inception in 2017.

Sharae Huff, whose passion for helping others is reflected every day in her job as director of quality at Community Health Care.  Her work in community organizations includes the LincolnWay Foundation, Faith Formation at First Congregational UCC, CEW, and most recently with the Referral Center board and subcommittee. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Referral Center to help rally more than a dozen young community leaders to donate, transform, re-organize, volunteer and write grants.

Rachel Neilson, who routinely exceeded expectations at the Cetera Advisory Networks, having gained the award for “best practices in customer service” in three of the past five years.  She is an ambassador for the DCDC, chaired the HomeTown Christmas committee, served as a committee judge, and volunteered for Autumn Fest. Rachel’s volunteer efforts are extended to her work with the Clinton County Fair, Ekstrand Elementary, and as coach for DeWitt Park & Rec youth teams. 

John Thiel Jr., who recently stepped into the role of third-generation president and owner of his family business, Thiel Motor Sales. John has grown the business exponentially through selling classic cars and uniques throughout the U.S. and in 17 foreign countries. He serves on the board of directors of the Iowa Independent Automobile Dealers Association. He remains involved in various committees including budgeting, fundraising and social events for the DeWitt Volunteer Fire Department.

New award makes debut

A new honor, the LincolnWay Community Foundation Spotlight Award, was bestowed on Chelsea Sullens, whose co-workers describe as the most compassionate person they know, which she continues to demonstrate daily in her work as a physical therapist. She is very active in in the DeWitt and Clinton chambers, DeWitt Noon Lions, not one but two Young Professionals groups, and the list goes one. She also  is an increasingly influential member of LincolnWay’s marketing group despite also being its youngest member.

A community foundation

The foundation provides grants, scholarships, tax benefits and administration services to organizations and individuals who seek to enhance the quality of life in rural Clinton County. 

It is in the business of building legacies for individuals and organizations. It is a catalyst for an increasingly popular form of financial planning that assures them that their names and causes will live forever in the form of endowments and scholarships.

“We have 80 endowments under our umbrella,” said Executive Director Pat Henricksen.

She noted that the principal from the endowments is never touched, but the interest accumulated from the original gifts will continue to bear fruit and enhance quality of life in various ways.

As a community foundation, it is a 501(c)3 organization that can apply for funding on behalf of other nonprofit organizations. Any individual or organization with charitable intent can contribute to the following cities and towns: Calamus, Charlotte, Delmar, DeWitt, Goose Lake, Grand Mound, Lost Nation, Low Moor, Welton and Wheatland.