Dustin Eglseder endowment continues to provide

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“The investment is astounding,” said Dustin’s sister Amy Clefisch of his memorial endowment. This year, the payout benefited Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center’s after school art program for students in grades 4-12. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

After Dustin Eglseder was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2007, his family, friends and the community at large came together to support the young man. Dustin's mother Rose, his father John and sister Amy Jo recalled that the love and support they received from everyone was astounding. They wondered, "How could we ever repay everyone for all their kindness? We felt like it was time to pay it forward."

Although Dustin died in 2008 at just 23 years old, his memory lives on through the Dustin Eglseder Memorial Endowment for Guttenberg Youth. Each year, his family directs the fund’s annual payout to an important cause – forever paying forward the kindness shown to them during their most courageous struggle.

Every spring as the opening pitch is thrown in Dustin’s favorite sport, the Eglseder family begins thinking about the new way they’ll use his endowment to benefit area youth. The fund has been paying out for three years, and in that time it has impacted a variety of important local projects. The Wave of the Future fundraiser for a new swimming pool was the first to receive a donation from the Dustin Eglseder Memorial Endowment for Guttenberg Youth, and in 2015, the funds were used toward new dugouts at the Darwin Duwe little league field. This year, the family has decided to donate to two projects. 

Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center received a generous donation in Dustin’s name to provide healthy snacks to students who attend its weekly after school art program during the 2016-17 school year and into the future. “We all remember being hungry as soon as school was out,” smiled Dustin’s sister, Amy Clefisch. The fund also sponsored the band Krankstate for the first weekend in August at Guttenberg’s River of Music concert series, where families gather to enjoy music in the park.

Dustin was involved in sports, swimming, music and more during his lifetime, and the family wanted to be able to impact any of those interests with his endowment. “We had the money for three or four years, planning to give it all for one thing and waiting for the right thing to come up,” said Rose.  “But if we redid a baseball field, then 30 years from now it would need to be redone again, and then what? There wasn’t an opportunity to name something after Dustin that could stay,” added Amy. “Now, every year we get to choose the most important need.” 

Community foundation endowments like Dustin’s are permanent charitable funds that are invested in a balanced stock portfolio and pay out 5% annually for charitable causes.  The payout is based on a three-year average fund balance and the fund must reach $10K as a threshold to pay out. The Clayton County Foundation for the Future (CCFF), which manages Dustin’s endowment, holds 51 funds.  

Other local memorial endowments include those that remember Kenny Tackman, Fern Rathe, and Dr. John Rathe.  “These three funds are all connected to Clayton Ridge. The first two support scholarships and the last one supports technology,” said MJ Smith, Director of Affiliate Foundations at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. “In addition, some time after Rod Tangeman died, his wife Mary Jo and her family created four endowments which help honor and remember Rod right here in Guttenberg. These funds annually pay out the library, Rotary Club, Fire Department and Ambulance/EMS.”

“Sometimes memorials are directed toward important permanent structures such as benches or flagpoles or they are directed to beautiful living things such as trees or plantings. Memorial endowments are simply another way to remember loved ones forever,” Smith explained. “The Community Foundation passes rigorous National Standards in order to manage and steward these charitable investments.”

For more information on how memorial endowments work, contact MJ Smith at 563-880-9992.  The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque hosts six affiliate foundations (of which CCFF is one) and holds about $70 million in charitable funds for the region. This year about $3 million in endowment payouts blessed parks, pet rescue, scout camps, hospitals, museums and food pantries among other charitable interests.

Dustin’s memorial endowment is part of Endow Iowa and is still collecting donations to help increase the amount that can be given out annually. It will pay out to programs and projects for Guttenberg kids forever.

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