Board members for the Community Foundation of Jackson County have approved a new strategic plan that emphasizes enhanced community impact through grantmaking and asset-building, focusing on the areas of greatest need in order to strengthen the community in the long term.

“The Community Foundation board has many points of pride, including a strong community presence, engaged members, asset growth, grantmaking and youth programs, and our relationships with Executive Director Mary Jo Gothard and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque,” said Board Chair Lucy Zeimet of Bellevue. “We created a new strategic plan to build on those strengths and help our communities become even greater in months and years ahead.”

In the coming months, the Community Foundation of Jackson County will focus on balancing grant impact and asset building. While Gothard continues to steward donors, Jackson County native Katie Decker will assist with grantmaking and nonprofit relations in a greater capacity. Decker serves as the grants management coordinator at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.

“Moving forward, the board will begin to assess community needs around education, housing, workforce, and other areas where they believe we can make an impact, and focus grantmaking around meeting those needs,” said Decker. “Nonprofits will be encouraged to consider how their work can address the community’s issues when applying for grants.”

Since the Community Foundation of Jackson County became an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque seven years ago, it has directed county endowment grants totaling over $600,000 — $98,248 of that total granted in the last year alone — making the organization a powerful instrument for community betterment.

Endowment payouts, a direct result of the generous residents of Jackson County, totaled more than $352,000 in 2018. “Research shows that the transfer of wealth in our area will equal $3.2 billion during the 50 years from 2000 to 2050,” said Gothard. “If just five percent of that projected transfer could be endowed between now and 2050, an estimated $17.5 million could be available annually to improve the quality of life in our community and secure our future.”

That’s why the Community Foundation has prioritized Gothard’s work in donor stewardship, starting with increased marketing and a focus on conversations about legacy giving. “We can’t predict what our needs will be years from now, but we know the Community Foundation will be at the forefront of addressing future challenges,” said Gothard. “Legacy gifts allow donors to rest assured that their charitable contributions will continue giving back to the community long after they have passed.”

“All this work culminates in making Jackson County an all-around better place to live,” said Zeimet.

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The Community Foundation of Jackson County was established in 1982 as the Maquoketa Area Foundation to help individuals throughout Jackson County make a positive impact on the communities they care about. In 2012, it joined the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque as an affiliate foundation. To learn more, visit

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The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque strengthens communities and inspires giving. For more information, visit or call 563.588.2700.