April 29, 2005

Powerful donor group decides what gets done in QCs.

The Dispatch/Argus has a revealing article about the "Quad Cities Contributor's Council", a group which pulls together all the deep pocket donors in the area to decide which projects get funding and which do not. Unsurprisingly, it's head is Hunt Harris III.
For more than a decade, just about every big bricks-and-mortar project in the Quad-Cities has been scrutinized by a handful of people connected to the deep pockets capable of getting it done.

Outside the circle of major donors involved with the Quad City Contributors Council, few people understand what the group does and why.

Niabi Zoo, which on Wednesday announced a nearly $3 million capital campaign, is just one example of the many nonprofit groups that seek the council's blessing before beginning to raise money for a particular project.

The council's endorsement helped build the Quad City Botanical Center in Rock Island, bring an IMAX Theater to the Putnam Museum in Davenport and pave the way for Hampton's Heritage Center. The botanical center is about to return to the council with its $4 million children's garden proposal, executive director Cheryl Carney said.

Perhaps the most expensive area project approved by the council is the $48.6 million Figge Art Museum, set to open in July.

The Quad City Contributors Council formed in the early 1990s as The Mark of the Quad Cities in Moline was nearing completion, president Hunt Harris said. He is president of Isabel Bloom Holdings Inc. and oversees the $4.4 million Hunt and Diane Harris Family Foundation.

Current members of the Quad City Contributors Council:

- Michael Bauer, president of Quad City Bank and Trust

- Richard Bittner, Bechtel Trusts

- Gene Blanc, chairman and CEO of Midland Information Resources Corp.

- Linda Bowers, co-owner of Lingui Systems Inc.

- Jim Collins, community relations director for Deere & Co.

- Alan Egly, executive director of the Doris and Victor Day Foundation

- Tom Getz, president of Moline Forge Inc.

- Hunt Harris, of the Hunt and Diane Harris Family Foundation and president of Isabel Bloom Holdings Inc.

- Pete McLaughlin, president of McLaughlin Oldsmobile Cadillac

- Marc Parise, president and CEO of First Midwest Bank

- Thomas Robinson, president and CEO of Southeast National Bank

- Clyde Schoeck, president of Modern Woodmen of America

- John Stavnes, president of Wells Fargo Bank

- Tim Wilkinson, vice president of communications at Alcoa

These are the folks who decide what gets done and what doesn't for the rest of us, and until this piece, not only these people, but the existence of the group itself was effectively unknown to the public.
Perhaps they're the only people with great wealth left in the Quad Cities.

Read the rest of the article here.


At 4/30/2005 8:39 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

I guess if you have money that's all that matters. People give you a pass no matter what you do.......

How about the press giving some kudos to people who make a difference every day and don't have a bunch of money to dole out?? The list on this Board reads like Forbes magazine.

At 4/30/2005 10:38 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

The list seems to be populated by the extremely wealthy and their bankers. But I am glad that they are interested in philanthropy of sorts, though having the decision making power in so few hands mean that they only support those agencies and projects that fit into their goals and beliefs.
Not that there's anything inherantly wrong with that, but it does mean that any deserving projects that don't conform to the political, religious, or other criteria of this relatively tiny group likely goes unfunded.

At 5/02/2005 10:31 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Good point again Dope. It's not only local but up in Federal money circles too ---So maybe there is something we should worry about with the "faith based initiatives" the Feds now can give dough to as well.

Seems if you are of the wrong religion or "gasp" no religion in the country you may be SOL for any help.

And to think the good folks on the Mayflower sailed over here to escape religious persecution......

There is no where left to sail off to these days so we better wake up soon.


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