“Our aligned values and shared work will only deepen our commitment to regional education and philanthropy.”
Dubuque becomes home to new Rural Schools Collaborative Iowa hub
Strong schools are essential to strong rural communities, which is why the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque facilitates initiatives focused on issues of student achievement like third-grade reading proficiency and college access. Now, the Foundation is expanding its work to bolster rural education as it becomes the new Iowa hub for Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC).
As RSC’s Iowa hub, the Community Foundation’s goal is to support thriving rural communities through a focus on one of the systems that has the biggest impact on small-town quality of life: education. The Foundation will work to enhance the vitality of rural education by bridging local generosity, ingenuity and leadership with efforts like teacher training and place-based learning.
The Community Foundation joins a legacy of strong partnerships between RSC and other community foundations across the county. RSC launched in 2015 based on successful programs led by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and has since grown its regional networks in partnership with several other community foundation leaders. Those early community foundation-inspired programs, like Rural Teacher Corps and strategic local philanthropy and School Foundations, continue to be the cornerstones of RSC’s work.
With affiliate foundations across the seven-county Dubuque region, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque has a long history of building trusting relationships with leaders in rural communities to chart clear paths forward that address complex social challenges, from academic achievement to economic opportunity.
The Foundation has a track record of both mobilizing local generosity and securing funds from national organizations to deliver region wide transformational change, and RSC is honored to have them serve as the anchor for the newly-established Iowa hub.
“The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque is excited and proud to formalize this partnership with Rural Schools Collaborative,” says Community Foundation President and CEO Nancy Van Milligen. “Our organizations share a vision of inclusive, collaborative and supported rural communities. Our aligned values and shared work will only deepen our commitment to regional education and philanthropy.”
RSC and the Community Foundation share the philosophy that a robust quality of life supports successful rural communities and regions, and they put this shared philosophy to work in small towns through locally-driven initiatives. In the same way that RSC’s Rural Teacher Corps program recruits and prepares young teacher-leaders to serve in rural communities, the Foundation’s Community Heart & Soul initiative intentionally cultivates the next generation of leaders to make decisions about the future of their community. Heart & Soul also focuses on the unique strengths of each small town to create sustainable and strategic pathways to help each region flourish, similar to RSC’s place-based storytelling.
At the Community Foundation, such rural vitality efforts work hand in hand with its other initiatives focused on youth education, such as Every Child Reads and Vision To Learn, and leadership development, such as its YAPPERS and PBnJ (Philanthropy Board in Jackson County) youth philanthropy groups.
As RSC’s Iowa hub, the Community Foundation will have more opportunities to create synergy among its academic achievement, leadership and community development initiatives.
Taylor McCabe-Juhnke, RSC Executive Director, says establishing the Iowa hub was a natural fit for both organizations. “Our partners at the Community Foundation believe that generosity and collaboration fuels their work and that everyone has something to contribute,” she says. “We couldn’t agree more — RSC carries out our mission through the power of partnerships, and welcoming the Foundation’s expertise into our network will strengthen our reach in Iowa and beyond.”
Thank you again to our partners at Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque for serving as the anchor to RSC’s Iowa Regional Hub!
About Rural Schools Collaborative
The Rural Schools Collaborative is a national nonprofit launched in 2015 to build sustainable rural communities. With a keen focus on place, teachers, and philanthropy, RSC's mission is realized through four signature efforts: The Place Network, Rural Teacher Corps, Grants in Place, and Impact Philanthropy. RSC is powered by a small, dedicated staff and board, as well as Regional Hub Partnerships. Learn more at ruralschoolscollaborative.org.
About Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque envisions a vibrant and inclusive Dubuque region where everyone can thrive. Since 2002, we have inspired people to give back to their community, and we turn this generosity into lasting change across our region, increasing access to resources and opportunities that help all people succeed. Visit Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque to learn about the many ways we are building a strong, thriving Greater Dubuque for all.
August 3, 2023
RSC's Iowa Regional Hub partners host a Rural Teacher Retreat.
June 15, 2023
The '22-'23 Catalyst Initiative Grant recipients share about their recent progress developing new Rural Teacher Corps programs