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The Scarlet & Black

Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation kicks off month-long fundraiser

The board members and staff of the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation pose for a photo. Contributed photo.

Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to contributing to the welfare of Poweshiek County. In October, the foundation is celebrating the launch of its annual fundraising campaign, Big GIVE. This coincides with the Spirit of Giving ceremony, which awards individuals who “have gone beyond in terms of their offerings to the non-profit,” said GPCF Executive Director Nicole Brua-Behrens.

“We have a variety of funds to support different initiatives like education, historical preservation [and] mental health. … During Big GIVE in October, we put out what we call the ‘Catalog of Giving,'” Brua-Behrens said. The Catalog of Giving is a brochure that contains all the projects GPCF supports. Then GPCF sends the catalogs “to donors that we have in our database, and we highlight all of our different funds, and we ask people to give.”

“But then we also have [an] event called the Spirit of Giving, which is coming up on Thursday, and that is an event which we hold in the evening. We invite anybody who has ever given to a fund at GPCF to an event, and give them a meal and we thank them for all they have done for the Poweshiek County — the different non-profits that are in our county. We also give away four awards on that night,” Brua-Behrens said.

“One prize will be given to a couple who have a life-time [of] giving back to non-profit organizations,” Brua-Behrens said. “This year the honor will be awarded to Doug and Lorna Caulkins … who have given their money and time to many important projects that impact the community profoundly. We are also giving [the prize] to a young person [Danica Nolton] who has done a lot in fighting cancer.” Brua-Behrens added.

With the money collected from the annual Big GIVE and donated throughout the year, GPCF evaluates and disperses money to non-profit organizations that are in need. “Every organization comes to us and sets up a charitable fund, and we either do a dispersement every year to their calls or we disperse money to them several times throughout the year,” Brua-Behrens explained.

Besides simply giving money to different organizations, GPCF also builds strong connections with its projects by actively engaging.

“We have an endowment for the Tiger Packs Program to help its daily operation. But two times a month, we purchase food and we pack food and deliver [it] to the school, so children in kindergarten through 8 grade, those children who have been identified as food insecure, [can] get a package of food in their backpack every Friday, so they have more food to eat on the weekend. Sometimes we [are] really connected to a program like that.” Brua-Behrens said.

GPCF also encourages the involvement of Grinnellians in its non-profit programs. “We actually have a lot of students volunteering in the Tiger Pack Program; they’ve worked in the community gardens that one of our organizations manage in Grinnell … Even [though] students don’t always have money to give, they seemed really more apt to do volunteering work.”

The board members and staff of the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation pose for a photo. Contributed photo.
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