Gifts, in all sizes and forms, were the result of an outpouring of support to address issues created by the 2008 Flood. Throughout the Corridor those gifts came from volunteers filling sandbags and feeding others to those who helped businesses and homeowners muck out debris and individuals who contributed their financial support.
CFJC Executive Director Mike Stoffregen said we are so grateful to all those who came together to meet the challenge presented by Mother Nature. "So many people and businesses came forward to volunteer and contribute their support, including former University of Iowa Hawkeye place kicker Nate Kaeding who donated funds through his annual golf tournament and football youth camps. We appreciate everyone who stepped up to help others in this time of need."
Meeting immediate needs and adapting to a changing environment is one of the responsibilities of the Community Foundation of Johnson County. To that end, the CFJC is a vehicle for resource development for the community. As the flood waters began to recede, the Community Foundation shifted into gear to assist those in need.
Mike and the Community Foundation board collaborated and connected to raise more than $546,000 for flood relief victims. Embrace Iowa 2008 Iowa Disaster Fund, a state-wide fund that helps Iowans recover from tornadoes and floods, contributed to the CFJC Opportunity Fund along with local businesses including Gazette Communications and MediaCom and Iowans Olympian Shawn Johnson and actor Ashton Kutcher.
The Opportunity Fund Committee, chaired by John Schneider, Director of Program Development and Iowa Sites Manager for Vangent, reviewed the flood-related grant applications. John said to date the Community Foundation raised and distributed $440,000 in aid. "The purpose of the Opportunity Fund is to empower, through financial assistance, those organizations whose missions are to provide support to individuals, families and businesses impacted by the flood.
"The committee worked diligently to identify, review and direct grants in three time frames: Immediate, intermediate and long-term needs. The first responses to the crisis offered food, clothing and shelter. The Foundation distributed more than $100,000 to United Way of Johnson County, the Salvation Army, Red Cross and.
John added, "Intermediate-need grants totaling more than $200,000 were awarded to individual small businesses to help with restoration, housing and transportation."
As the community continues its recovery the Foundation will issue long-term grant funds to address counseling, housing and community development.
Vangent partnered with the Community Foundation of Johnson County to benefit local homeowners affected by the 2008 Flood. The combined efforts united private support and unrestricted CFJC funds to provide $57,000 to help homeowners.
The program, administered through the City of Iowa City, distributed funds to property owners from November 2008 through January 2009 following Community Development Block Grant eligibility guidelines.
Steve Long, Community Development coordinator, said, "Our goal was to help rebuild the community. We want folks back in their homes and we want to help rebuild the neighborhoods damaged by the floods."
Homes designated as rebuild or rehab qualified for the assistance program. Properties slated for buyout were identified for other federal and state assistance funds.
Housing assistance funds were payable to mortgagors or landlords in the form of rent or mortgage payments up to $1,000 a month for the three-month period.
Long said funds maintained mortgages or helped homeowners with necessary rent payments while repairs were made to their homes. "The program helped 18 families while they worked to get back into their homes. We hope to do more. The need is so great."