The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation was presented with the 2012 Award for Outstanding Foundation by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at the organization’s International Conference on Fundraising in Vancouver, British Columbia on Saturday.
The award is presented to one foundation in North America each year that demonstrates outstanding commitment through financial support, innovation, encouragement and motivation of others. Past winners include such outstanding foundations as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.
In the days and months following the flood of 2008, the foundation worked in high gear to facilitate funding to Linn County residents and organizations in need of assistance. Days before the river began to rise, the foundation set up the Flood 2008 Fund, and within two weeks it had distributed $290,000 from its own operating revenue. The foundation also awarded more than $14 million in flood-related grants from donated funds to help more than 300 organizations since 2008.
Les Garner, president and CEO of the foundation, accepted the award.
“Our family of donors was so generous and they offered an overwhelming amount of support after the flood,” said Mr. Garner, in a press release. “We received more than 2,732 donations from 45 states and three foreign countries. Seeing our community come through with this kind of support during a difficult time gave us hope that we can make Cedar Rapids as good as, and eventually better than, before the flood.”
The foundation continues to assist with long-term flood recovery efforts, but is also returning focus to its overall mission of connecting donors to the needs of the community and awarding grants that support innovation sustainability and capacity-building for local nonprofits.
“We learned a lot through the flood recovery process,” Mr. Garner said. “And we’re a better foundation because of it.”