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1619 Freedom School Partners with Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa

September 13, 2021

The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa is partnering with the recently announced 1619 Freedom School in Waterloo. CFNEIA will serve as the school’s fiscal sponsor and was an early funder, providing a $10,000 grant from its Racial Equity Fund to the project. The 1619 Freedom School was launched by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones with a team of Waterloo educators and community leaders, to provide a free, community-based, after-school literacy program in Hannah-Jones’ hometown. 

“We are honored and excited to partner with the 1619 Freedom School. The school delivers a much-needed program to bridge the literacy gap and provides a path that increases opportunities for success for all students in the Waterloo School District,” said Kaye Englin, CFNEIA president & CEO. “Equity in education is essential to strengthening our communities and aligns with the Foundation’s values and our commitment to racial equity across our region.”

The 1619 Freedom School will work with the Waterloo Community School District to identify students most in need of literacy support. In its inaugural year, the school will serve fourth- and fifth-graders at Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence and low-income students from other schools in the district.

The school will be housed in the historic Masonic Temple in downtown Waterloo and already has plans to open a second location in the community center at ALL-IN-GROCERS, a new Black-owned grocery set to open in Waterloo in 2022. Parents interested in enrolling their children should contact the 1619 Freedom School at

Financial support of the 1619 Freedom School will be directed through CFNEIA, which is the school’s fiscal sponsor, meaning all gifts are tax-deductible. Gifts can be made by visiting or directly through the Foundation’s website at Gifts of cash/check and stock are also accepted through the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, 3117 Greenhill Circle, Cedar Falls, IA, 50613. Checks should be made payable to the 1619 Freedom School Fund.

CFNEIA’s $10,000 grant made to the 1619 Freedom school was directed through the organization’s Racial Equity Fund, which was established in June 2020 and is a funding resource for projects moving communities toward racial equity. Grants from the fund support nonprofits addressing racial justice issues and serving diverse groups of people, programs engaging members of the community in advocacy and promoting racial equity, education and training to help create more inclusive communities, and initiatives that explore solutions to ending racism. More information about Racial Equity Fund opportunities and giving information can be found at 

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