Leaders in Ryan have begun a fundraising campaign for the Ryan Community Endowment with matching funds from the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. When the campaign goals are reached, the new endowment will provide $20,000 annually, forever, to award grants to local organizations building a thriving future in the community.

Ryan was approved for a Small-town Dreams Initiative Challenge Grant through the Community Foundation, which hosts the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County (FFDC). The initiative is funded by a successful entrepreneur who grew up in a small town in eastern Iowa. Ryan is the third community to successfully apply for the program.

The first, quiet phase of the program is a two-to-one challenge to local leaders. When $150,000 is raised, the community becomes eligible for $75,000 in matching funds. In the second, public phase, the community will be challenged to match the leaders’ and donors’ gifts of $225,000, building a $450,000 endowment fund in three years. Over the course of those three years, an additional $15,000 from the donor will be granted to local nonprofits.

“The support we have seen has been tremendous and it comes as no surprise,” said Tom McDonald, a local volunteer committed to the campaign. “The endowment raised $30,000 in the first week alone, which eclipsed 25% of our initial goal. That said, we must continue the momentum. It certainly is encouraging to hear community members’ buy-in and dreams for tomorrow. We hope the endowment will be a major contributor to help bring them to reality.”

McDonald, along with other community leaders, envisions annual payouts from the Ryan Community Endowment will be used to create a more vibrant Ryan – initiating improvements like a new splash pad, helping fund special events, supporting local daycares so families can thrive or meeting urgent community needs.

“My inspiration and motivation for both being a member of the committee and a donor is for Ryan to continue to be a great place to raise a family, said Bruce Quint, a member of the leadership team. “I hope this fund is able to improve our parks, fund events, create business opportunities and help our community remain the safe, welcoming place that it is today.”

Elizabeth Feldmann, Lorraine Gaffney, Lucas Leonard, Kenny Ries, Adam Ryan, Jason Stepanek, Marcia Voelker and Justin Wenger round out the leadership team for the new initiative. “Both ownership and drive were evident from our very first meeting,” said McDonald. “In particular, I recall circling back several times to an old proverb which states that a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. That meant a lot to us.”

Both triumph and trials in Ryan have led to a resilient community whose pride is deep rooted. “Ryan has a strong heritage and sense of who we are and where we came from,” said McDonald. “When I think of Ryan, I think of our strong faith community. I think of the names, written in stone, of our servicemen and women who fought and died for this nation. I think of our farmers and the corn busting out of the bin every fall. I think the Field of Dreams missed the mark by about 30 miles, and our little league players can prove it. I think our Irish ancestors would be proud our small community still packs a powerful punch. But most of all, I think we can accomplish much more if we can rally together. There is no dream too large if we are all pulling in the same direction. The whole community will benefit if we only plant the seed today — and spare no time.”

To learn more or make a gift to the Ryan Community Endowment, visit dbqfoundation.org/ryan or contact any of the leadership team members. Gifts can be made with cash, check or credit card. Complex gifts like grain, appreciated stock, life insurance, real estate and individual retirement account charitable rollovers can also be accepted. Gifts of $50 or more are eligible for a 25% Endow Iowa State Tax Credit.