Foundation awards $100,000 grants to QC school districts, housing group

Local News

Two Quad Cities-area groups have been awarded Transformation Grants from the Quad Cities Community Foundation to bring equitable solutions to the bi-state region.

The East Moline and United Township School Districts and Humility Homes and Services will each receive $100,000 Transformation Grants thanks to the many donors to the Quad Cities Community Impact Fund at the Community Foundation.

“The past year has shed light on the racial and socioeconomic issues of our country,” said Sherry Ristau, president and CEO. “And while we must all continue to educate ourselves about the inequities that touch our community, nation and world, it is also important for us to act on great ideas and long-term solutions to those challenges. The grants we are awarding today are part of our commitment to building a just, inclusive and equitable community.”

The first grant supports a collaboration between the East Moline and United Township School Districts to ensure quality WIFI in student homes, especially critical during the global COVID-19 pandemic. In the initial phase of their comprehensive project, the families of 100 students in the school districts will gain access to quality Internet in their homes. The $100,000 grant is not only a huge step forward to foster equity in the community, but also speaks volumes about the importance of providing equal opportunities for students, said East Moline School District Superintendent Kristin Humphries.

“We’re going to light up neighborhoods with WIFI,” Humphries said. “Through this first step, we are hoping to show the community, local business leaders, and other potential funders that technology upgrades like this have a transformative impact on lives now—and far down the road.”

Students whose second language is English face additional challenges when they cannot be linked to their classes by video due to lack of Internet. More than 40 languages are spoken in the East Moline School District alone, Humphries added, helping to support equitable access to both technology—and education—for these students in particular.

The second $100,000 Transformation Grant, to Humility Homes and Services, will provide stable housing and support for individuals with complex challenges. The grant supports the organization’s five-year goal to end the need for their emergency winter shelter by offering long-term solutions for community members experiencing homelessness. Ashley Velez, executive director at Humility, said the grant represent the community once again stepping up to prevent homelessness.

“Investments in housing reduce arrests and emergency treatment needs,” Velez said. “Finding equitable housing solutions is better for the individuals and our community both in the short-term—and the long-term. The partnerships we’ve been able to foster with donors, and city and county government, are critical to removing the barriers to permanent housing.” 

These Transformation Grants do more than provide a one-time infusion of funding for a nonprofit, as they have serious long-term impacts on the people they serve—and our broader bi-state region.

“We serve as a connector in this community—matching brilliant ideas with generous people,” said Kelly Thompson, vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives. “Over the past year, our board and staff has listened to the needs of this community, identified the nonprofits that are addressing those needs, and have made the decision to support them through donor generosity. These grants are examples of the ways we can come together to create lasting change and strengthen our communities.”

“These grantees are represented by community leaders taking a leap toward the next level for the efforts they support,” Thompson added. “The solutions they are leading benefit multiple organizations and systems, and make the Quad Cities a more inclusive and equitable place. We are proud to support them as they champion their efforts.”

This winter, the Community Foundation also awarded a $50,000 Transformation Grant to the United Way for the Quad Cities’ United for Equity Fund, which is addressing racial inequities in multiple areas of our communities, including health, education and income systems in the Quad Cities. With these new awards, more than $1 million has been granted through this program.

This is the sixth time that the Quad Cities Community Foundation has made Transformation Grants that align with the Community Foundation’s mission to transform the region through the generosity of donors. The first Transformation Grant was made in 2015 to the Scott County Housing Council for homelessness prevention.

Since then, $100,000 grants have been awarded to the United Way Women United Born Learning Initiative, Family Resources’ Comprehensive Care Coordination Services Program, Grow Quad Cities for the Q2030 Regional Action Plan, Robert Young Center, Child Abuse Council, Vera French Mental Health Center, and Mercado on Fifth.  

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