By Thomas Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Floyd County Community Foundation has a new face.
Diane Neuzil will be joining the foundation as its new development associate. She is taking over for Marcie Andrews, who had been in that position since 2011.
The Floyd County Community Foundation helps support non-profit groups around the county through its endowments, and is partnered with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa.
“Our primary focus is around endowment building,” said Kay Englin, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa.
Endowment dollars can be used for the changing needs of a community, Englin said.
Neuzil is new to some parts of her new position, but not to non-profits.
“My background is in grant-seeking,” Neuzil said. She spent about a decade writing proposals for a university-based research foundation.
“This is kind of a new direction for me, personally,” Neuzil said. “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work with this fantastic team of people.
“I think we have some goals and the energy to focus on a larger vision and to achieve what sounds like the impossible,” she said.
Neuzil grew up around northeast Iowa, and her husband is originally from the Charles City area. His family farmed outside of town.
She and her husband returned in 1993, when, like many Iowans, they felt called to come home, Neuzil said.
“We’ve raised our family here, and our daughter is now going to college,” Neuzil said. “We’re almost empty-nesters.”
Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa
The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa has been around since 1956, and was originally a community foundation for Waterloo.
“Then it expanded to Blackhawk County,” Englin said.
In 2005, when dollars from Iowa’s gaming industry were put toward accredited community and county foundations, the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa expanded and partnered with surrounding counties and communities, Englin said.
“In our region we have 24 affiliates,” Englin said, including counties and cities in a 20-county region.
“One of the things that make community foundations so unique is that our grants are going toward truly changing and impacting the broad community,” Englin said.
Those grants can make a big difference to community organizations that wouldn’t necessarily see that money otherwise.
The Floyd County Community Foundation has awarded $1.2 million, said Jake Byers, director of communications with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa.
The foundation has 35 endowments and distributed $150,543 total grants to nonprofit groups in 2016, according to the group’s impact report from that year.
“That really just shows that there’s a large impact that’s happened over that history,” Byers said, adding that the organization is focused mostly on whether grant applications have the potential to impact the lives of the people that live in Floyd County.
The Floyd County Fair and PAWS are both examples of organizations helped by the Floyd County Community Foundation, said Charlie Newman, 2018 chairman of the governing committee for the foundation.
“For a county of this size I think it’s amazing and awe-inspiring how generous people have been,” Neuzil said. “I think we can keep growing from that.”
“The other funds that have been established over the years, give visibility to some organizations,” Newman said.
The unique things about a local foundation is that it meets the needs of those in the locality, Englin said.
“Volunteers are helping to recognize what those needs are and then we work with the local charities to … connect them with generous donors,” Englin said. “(That’s) one of the beautiful parts of our role as development folks, and as Diane comes on, too, we have the joy of helping community members make that lasting impact on the community and the county they love.
“That’s one of things we love the most about our work, is to make those charitable dreams come true for the donor,” Englin said.
On Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. the Floyd County Community Foundation will give about 31 grants to various organizations in Charles City during a program at the Senior Center.
There were 40 to 41 grant applications this year, Newman said.
At that ceremony, Neuzil will also be publicly recognized in her new position.
Last year the Floyd County Community Foundation gave $113,389.19 to 33 organizations at its awards night.