‘Inclusive Johnson County Fund helps address racial disparities in communities’

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Iowa City mayor Bruce Teague talked about the Community Foundation of Johnson County’s efforts to ensure all people are welcome in their community, treated equally and invited to have a seat at the table.

“That’s why the organization started the Inclusive Johnson County Fund,” he said. “Which provides financial support for race and bias education and outreach, promoting diversity and inclusion and supporting cultural events.”

Teague talked with Shelly Maharry of the Community Foundation of Johnson County.

Maharry noted it had almost been a year since the death of George Floyd.

“Our community foundation board of directors and members of our community were so impacted by that loss,” she said. “and it really highlighted some crucial conversations to have in our community about diversity, about equity and inclusion and creating a welcoming community that welcomes all.”

The board of directors talked about how the Community Foundation of Johnson County could use its attributes and its strengths to highlight and empower diversity, equity and inclusion within Johnson County.

The Inclusive Johnson County Fund will provide grants to a number of different activities, Maharry said.

“Supporting race and bias education that’s needed throughout our community so that we can understand and raise the level of awareness of needs in our community and also support non-profit organizations’ work in making sure that their organization is culturally sensitive as well,” she said. “And provide grants for scholarship opportunities for underserved individuals, plus cultural events. This fund is really designed to be a vehicle for good in enhancing our understanding and support for diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Some of the examples of what has already been funded by the fund include the Juneteenth Celebration from last June. Two scholarships also were provided to the Iowa City Area Business Partnerships Community Leadership program for underrepresented individuals to participate in the program.

The next round of grants through the fund will be opened up July 15.

“We’re excited about sharing this news now coming in the month of June because we’re fundraising specifically for these grants,” Maharry said.

Author: Jacob Hall