• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Eager to lend a hand

North Liberty Community Fund aims to broaden community reach
The North Liberty Community Fund (NLCF) presents a $2,200 donation to the North Liberty Community Pantry (NLCP) on Monday, Nov. 19. Left to right: NLCF Board representatives Jim Aldeman, Mary K. Mitchell, Charlotte Young, NLCP Executive Director Kaila Rome, NLCF President Tim Hawkins, Richard Grugin and NLCP Volunteer & Services Coordinator Bikere Ikoba. (photo by Cale Stelken)

NORTH LIBERTY– On Monday, Nov. 19, the North Liberty Community Fund (NLCF) presented a sizable donation to the North Liberty Community Pantry.
The charitable gesture was not the first of its kind, and one the organization wants to spread further throughout the community.

Supportive stewardship

The NLCF was established in 2007, as an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Johnson County, to help support the unmet needs of local organizations and to maintain a safe, vital, healthy quality of life for the community.
“Our mission is to connect individuals and organizations that care with those in need,” cited Tim Hawkins, President of the NLCF.
Funds from the organization are distributed in the form of grants, and up to five percent of the endowment fund can be granted to support local needs annually.
Since 2010, the fund has provided support to the pantry on numerous occasions, including for the opening of its permanent facility in 2011 and its garden project in 2014. Past support has also been provided to the Avenue of Flags project for Boy Scouts of America Troop 216 and the Optimist Club of North Liberty, a veterans dinner for the North Liberty American Legion Auxiliary and the Parent University for the North Liberty Family Resource Center. Last year saw 23 applications; those that were funded included Summer Lunch & Fun, playground equipment for handicapped students and school supplies for the LIFEchurch Servolution.
The current balance of the NLCF is just over $45,000, and this year allowed for $2,200 to be granted to the pantry.
“I think it’s a very well-connected group,” noted Kaila Rome, executive director of the North Liberty Community Pantry. “I would love to see that fund grow because they also support things that impact folks that we serve.”

Amplifying the cause

The NLCF is eager to promote awareness for next year’s efforts, get the word out on how they can partner with nonprofits and be a conduit for charitably-inclined individuals of the North Liberty community.
“They put a lot of time and effort into picking who they support and maximizing their reach in that way,” Rome noted. “They support community initiatives that show potential for sustainability.”
Hawkins said while some people are intimated by the grant application process, and as a result stifle potential support of meaningful causes, the NLCF encourages anyone with nonprofit ambitions in the community to apply for a grant and put its funds to good use. Particularly, this includes nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) IRS designation. It also can accept a wide variety of assets and is tax deductible.
“Collectively, the more resources we can put together, the more help we can provide,” Hawkins said. “It’s kind of a circle of life in the donor-nonprofit world.”
Those interested in donating to the NLCF, or applying for a grant, can contact the Community Foundation of Johnson County at 319-337-0483, or visit communityfoundationofjohnsoncounty.org for more information.

In other pantry news…

The North Liberty Community Pantry hosted its annual Giving Tuesday event Nov. 27 to resounding support.
“We were really excited. A lot of people actually came to the pantry on Tuesday to give donations,” Rome said. “I think we had a very successful day and kind of helped jumpstart the holiday spirit, and we’ve seen some great benefits ever since then.”
This year saw the pantry put in extra work in promoting the event, and the effort appears to have paid off. Whereas the Giving Tuesdays of previous years brought in a few hundred dollars in donations, 2018 was a different story.
“With the match from our board of directors, we brought in about $5,000,” Rome affirmed.
As January often sees the lowest about of donations, the director hopes to keep up the momentum heading into next year.