Today I closed a significant chapter in my life and liquidated my Bailey for Iowa City campaign account. I kept this open longer than I expected—the last time I ran for office was seven years ago and I’ve been out of office for two years—but I had to be absolutely certain that I wouldn’t be using the funds to seed another run for political office in the foreseeable future. I loved my two terms on City Council and at this point, I don’t see any other office igniting my interests and passion the way serving Iowa City did. Since I wasn’t going to use the funds in the near future, it seemed like a good idea to get them somewhere where they’d put to good use.
There are a handful of options when closing out a campaign account—donate the remaining funds to a nonprofit organization, to a national, state or local political party central committee, the state’s general fund or the general fund of a political subdivision, or return contributions to contributors on a pro-rata basis. I seriously considered all of these, and narrowed it two options: donate the funds to a nonprofit organization or donate them to the City of Iowa City’s general fund. The amount left in the account (around $1,400) would be a nice donation to a nonprofit organization but a relatively small contribution to the City’s general fund, so I decided to go the nonprofit route.
Without question, Iowa City has many excellent nonprofit organizations doing important work. It wasn’t an easy decision, but in the end, I chose to donate the funds to the 1105 Project.
- Collaboration among organizations helps build stronger communities.
Many organizations collaborate to varying degrees; even though collaboration is hard work and takes time, we should be encouraging and supporting more collaborative projects within our nonprofit sector—and even across sectors. The 1105 Project is an intensive collaboration resulting in the colocation of services provided by four organizations. This collaboration took a lot of planning and required the courage, hard work, and commitment of the boards and staff members of these organizations. I admire the work and vision that went into this project and want to help it succeed.
- Strong organizations seek efficiencies in providing services to clients.
The 1105 Project helps create efficiencies in providing services. All of these organizations were facing the challenges of space and good locations to serve their clients. This Project provides an efficient solution to these challenges.
- Visionary and strategic organizations provide models for other organizations in the sector.
The 1105 Project is visionary. I hope to see more collaborative projects like this in our community. We need to be having more conversations about how organizations can come together to create efficiencies for their clients and for their donors. We need to be talking to one another about our analyses for change and how we better address the tough issues like educational disparities, poverty, and physical and mental health issues. By coming together, there’s a greater likelihood that we’ll create the change that we want to see in our community. I hope that the 1105 Project will serve as a model for other organizations that want to work together to address tough issues.
As I close this chapter of my life, I can’t think of a better way to do this than to help (in a very small way) support the early chapters of the 1105 Project. I hope its story is a long one that inspires its clients, donors, and other organizations to build an even stronger community for all of us.