Community members celebrate launch of Alexander McGregor Endowment

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Cathy Denning, who serves on the committee that will advise the Alexander McGregor Endowment, spoke at a June 13 open house that celebrated the launch of the fund. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Community members gathered at the Backwoods Event Center, in McGregor, June 13, to celebrate the establishment of the Alexander McGregor Endowment.

“This is an exciting time for our community, and the path that has led us here today was not without struggles and heartache and challenges,” said Cathy Denning, who, along with LeAnn Watson, Duane Boelman, Dan Bickel and Joan Burns, serves on the committee that will advise the endowment fund. “Many of you among us were witness to the devastation that occurred from the July 2017 tornado. However, the people of McGregor did not dwell in discouragement. They banded together and worked side by side, doing whatever was needed to get the town back in forward motion and future thinking.”

Immediately after the tornado, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque established a recovery fund with the affiliate Clayton County Foundation for the Future. Donations came in from far and wide, and, as of February 2018, over $36,000 was awarded to individuals, families and businesses, to help cover their losses.

“The remarkable generosity of those who contributed allowed for a $10,000 balance in the Restore McGregor Tornado Fund,” Denning said.

A portion of that is now being used to establish the Alexander McGregor Endowment, which Denning assured will forever be a place to renew, grow and sustain projects and organizations that make the town thrive. 

Named in honor of the city’s founder, “the Alexander McGregor Endowment is a commitment to long-term planning, collective vision and sustainability,” Denning shared. “It calls us to re-imagine the future and reconsider the possibilities for McGregor.”

In addition to funds from the Restore McGregor Tornado Fund, gifts totaling $5,300 have gone into the endowment, including significant contributions from several founding members: Daniel G. and Marsha Bickel, Duane Boelman, Paul and Joan Burns and Craig and LeAnn Watson. 

Community foundation endowments have traditionally paid out up to 5 percent annually on the fund balance, noted Denning. That means, at a $10,000 level, approximately $500 per year can be awarded to non-profit groups, schools, churches and civic organizations operating in and providing services in McGregor.

“Every dollar donated to the endowment will grow that $500 amount,” said Denning, who encouraged other community members to join in growing the endowment. “Larger endowments make possible larger payouts, which mean larger grants every year in perpetuity to grass roots, local efforts of those non-profit organizations that are the heartbeat and the inspiration to McGregor.”

Gifts of any size are welcome to support building the Alexander McGregor Endowment. Tax-deductible contributions can be made online at dbqfoundation.org/mcgregor or by mailing checks made out to Alexander McGregor Endowment to Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, 700 Locust St., Suite 195, Dubuque, IA 52001. Gifts of $50 or more may qualify for the Endow Iowa 25 percent state tax credit.

The endowment will be invested by professional wealth managers in a diversified portfolio. It will pay out annually, and the remainder will be reinvested to ensure funds exist for the future.

Committee member Duane Boelman said the endowment could begin paying out as early as next year.

For more information, call (563) 873-3795 or email citymcgr3@mediacombb.net.

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