Through our annual Initiative Awards, we recognize the efforts of fellow citizens and organizations in Muscatine County that are making a difference.
2023 award recipients include:
Tom Hendricks Community Service Award
The recipient of the 2023 Tom Hendricks Community Service Award is Muscatine Church of Christ for their donation garden, Garden of Eden.
The Garden of Eden at the Muscatine Church of Christ has been in operation for over 20 years, helping to minimize food insecurity in our community. All gardening is done by volunteers who plan, purchase, plant, weed, water, harvest, clean, and deliver fresh vegetables to local food distribution centers. This year, over 4,000 pounds of produce was delivered to the Muscatine Center for Social Action Food Pantry and Jesus Mission Church.
As part of the award, the Muscatine Church of Christ received an $8,000 grant to be used towards maintaining and growing the garden.
Muscatine Charities, Inc. established the Tom Hendricks Community Service Award Endowment Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine in 2016 to honor Tom Hendrick's volunteer leadership and service to the greater Muscatine community.
Shirley Jean Drake Great Initiative Award
The recipient of the 2023 Shirley Jean Drake Great Initiative Award is Charles Rickey.
Charles is a founder of the Muscatine Arboretum who actively worked to obtain the 100-year lease with the County to establish this 15-acre feature of native and ornamental trees, shrubs, and flowers in Discovery Park. He has since been a dedicated volunteer for over 20 years, helping to water, plant, mow, mulch, landscape, and more to keep the gardens beautiful. He also shares his knowledge with others, coordinating with groups such as the Muscatine High School FFA and local Boy Scouts to educate our future generation. The Muscatine Arboretum is all volunteer-based, and Charles has made a substantial impact on the Muscatine community and the environment through his love of nature.
As part of the award, Charles received a $1,500 grant to be directed to the charity of his choice - the Muscatine Arboretum Association.
The Great Initiative Award was established to honor inaugural recipient Shirley Jean Drake, a long-time Board member of the Community Foundation who left a legacy of great initiatives across our community, county, and state. The cheerful, ethical, and inspirational determination she demonstrated will continue to be honored through the Shirley Jean Drake Great Initiative Award.
Giles Joslyn Youth Initiative Award
The recipient of the 2023 Giles Joslyn Youth Initiative Award is the Faith United Church of Christ Youth Group including McKenna Schumaker, Claire Schumaker, Maddox Warren, Brynn Castle, Addie Weggen, and Grace Kreitner.
The Faith United Church of Christ Youth Group was nominated for their efforts to raise over $2,200 for the Kids First Fund at United Way of Muscatine. The students planned and executed a music bingo fundraising event that had over 60 people in attendance. Students wrote a grant for supplies and reached out to members of the congregation to donate silent auction baskets and baked goods. Through their passion for helping others, the youth group members all took on different leadership responsibilities to raise funds that will impact 45 children in our community.
As part of the award, the Faith United Church of Christ Youth Group received a $1,000 grant to be directed to the charity of their choice – the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Giles Joslyn received the first Youth Initiative Award for implementing a ‘Stringfest’ concert to raise money for new band instruments and music lessons for students who might not otherwise be able to afford them. The passion, persistence, enterprise, and leadership he demonstrated will continue to be honored through the Giles Joslyn Youth Initiative Award.