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The Community Foundation began in 1964 as “The Davenport Area Foundation.” It was established by a small, dedicated group of community leaders including John Nagle and Bea Conrad. Their original vision was to pool the charitable resources of area philanthropists, living and deceased, into a single, great, and permanent trust, or endowment, for the betterment of the city of Davenport. Community leaders would then forever distribute the interest that the trust’s resources would accrue to fund such charitable purposes that would help improve the quality of life for everyone in the area. 

Just one year later, in 1965, the Davenport Area Foundation made its very first grant, made possible by an estate gift from Bea Conrad. The Foundation's initial grants supported organizations such as: the Davenport Public Library, the Bettendorf Public Library, and United Way.

With that first grant, we began reshaping the way community members care for one another not just in our area, but throughout eastern Iowa and western Illinois, and the country. 

In 1994, the Davenport Area Foundation became the “The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend.” Our new name reflected our growing presence as a regional resource for both charitable giving and civic engagement. 

For 30 years, a small committee of seven volunteers did their best to grow the Foundation by keeping local attorneys informed about the Foundation’s purpose and annual grants.  By 1993, the Foundation had just over $1 million in one fund.  With a vision of growing the Foundation to meet important needs within the community, the volunteers hired their first CEO, Tana Odean as a part-time employee.

Over the past 20 years, many donors have created charitable funds that reflect their unique goals for giving back to their community. Today, as the Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary, we have more than 900 distinct charitable funds, totaling more than $100 million in assets in 13 affiliate community foundations that serve 17 counties in two states.

We have distributed more than $40 million in grants to charitable causes right here, and nationwide, that reflect the individual passions of each of our more than 6,000 generous donors.