Tapestry Farms celebrated five years of helping refugees feel settled, healthy and happy in the Quad-Cities this week as staff begin to brace for larger groups of refugees to relocate here.
With $10,000 from the Quad-Cities Community Foundation grant program, the nonprofit will be able to scale up its capacity to welcome those who are leaving behind what they know for a better life.
"We love the work we do," Tapestry Farms Executive Director Ann McGlynn said. "Some days it's hard work, and some days it's really joyful work. ... As we welcome more people who are fleeing violence in their home countries, we look forward to ensuring that the Quad-Cities is as welcoming as it possibly can be."
The Quad Cities Community Foundation gave $566,000 in funding to 32 area organizations this year through its Coordinated Field of Interest Grant program, the highest amount ever allocated through this program, said Kelly Thompson, vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives.
The grants were broken into 12 fields of interest to determine where funds come from, such as focuses on the arts or different communities. Tapestry Farms received $9,300 from the Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund and $700 from the Basic Human Needs Fund.
Ann McGlynn takes a deep breath and, steadying her voice, explains that in her cellphone camera there are two sets of photos, one from her lif…
McGlynn said Tapestry Farms would use grant funds to increase staff and work within existing systems to expand support in areas like housing, education, medical needs, transportation and food for an expected record-breaking number of refugees.
Since the early 2010s, the Quad-Cities has welcomed around 225 refugees a year. It's possible that next year the number could double or more, with people relocating from central and east Africa, Myanmar and Afghanistan.
Refugees — especially families with single parents, high medical needs or a lack of education — face high barriers in their resettlement. In addition to trauma sustained before and during the moving process, they're in an unfamiliar place with no one they know to lean on.
Once they're brought to the area and settled in by resettlement organization World Relief Quad Cities, Tapestry Farms steps in to help with anything they need. McGlynn said she's grateful that the foundation decided to support the organization in its mission.
"Housing, for example, is one of the most important things we've worked on — stable, long-term, safe affordable housing," McGlynn said. "So we work really hard to secure good housing for people, and that takes funding for sure. So then we can build systems around each family so that they can be as successful as possible."
The nonprofit also operates five urban farm plots in areas of Davenport that have historically faced systemic oppression and where there's a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables.
It was necessary to give the most the foundation could, Thompson said, as they also saw the most money ever requested in the three years since the program began. More than $2.3 million in funds were requested from applicants.
It's really important to give as much support as possible, but the foundation also needs to ensure it can keep supporting organizations for years to come. Thompson hopes to do more in the future as donors continue to give money and endowed funds gather interest.
"We're so proud to be able to provide the support we can, but the ones we can't fund are the ones that stick with me," Thompson said.