As COVID-19 posed new challenges for rural communities, the LincolnWay Community Foundation helped nonprofits like the DeWitt Referral Center with a $5,000 grant to meet the needs of the people most impacted. Between March and June, a total of 388 emergency food bags were distributed. The weekly emergency food bags assisted 83 families, including 198 children. 

 “Thank you for all that you do for the Referral Center and for our community as well,” said the referral center’s director, Michelle Ehlinger. “You truly make the difference for us, and we are extremely grateful. Your support has repeatedly played a key role in our success at the center.”

This story — along with the countless others like it — demonstrates the importance of the LincolnWay Community Foundation. Like all community foundations, we are uniquely situated to improve our region through supporting innovative solutions and creating powerful partnerships. From Nov. 12 to 18, we celebrated Community Foundation Week, a time when we can share and reflect on the stories of impact over the last year. Though you may not yet know your local community foundation, you’ve likely felt its impact.

That’s because the LincolnWay Community Foundation, along with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and 900-plus other community foundations across the country help to bring donors and residents together. Community foundations work to support the efforts that will help the places we call home continue to flourish and grow.

Disaster preparedness is one of the many ways community foundations take the long view for their communities, working collaboratively to understand our region’s greatest needs and use our strengths – convening stakeholders and connecting donors with causes they care about – to address those needs. 

As our region’s critical needs continue to evolve, we’ll continue working hard to meet them. As we enter the giving season, millions of people from every background will be looking to give back to the communities that have supported them. They’ll also look to ensure that their heartfelt giving — however they choose to give — will have the most impact. That’s why so many of them will choose to give to a community foundation.

A gift to your local community foundation is an investment in the future of your community. We like to say that community foundations are “here for good.” 

At the LincolnWay Community Foundation, we don’t think about the next election or business cycle — we think about the next generation and the next after that.

That can seem a daunting task, but it’s one we all share. During Community Foundation Week, I hope you’ll join us in recognizing our collective impact and the difference we can make together. To make a gift for the future of your community or learn more, visit

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— Pat Henricksen is the Executive Director of the LincolnWay Community Foundation.