When eastern Iowa was devastated by flood damage in 2008, the people of the Czech Republic donated more than $500,000 to local organizations in support.
Five years later, Cedar Rapids is looking to return the favor.
The Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation, Sokol Cedar Rapids, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and St. Wenceslaus Church are joining forces for CR2CR, a flood-relief effort that aims to raise $50,000 for Děčín’s flood-ravaged library in the Czech Republic. The fundraising effort will continue until the NCSML’s Brewnost event Oct. 11.
“All of the citizens of Cedar Rapids have benefited from the Czech Republic’s generous gift five years ago,” says Tom Hansen of Cedar Rapids, one of the organizers of the project. “This is a great opportunity for our city to show its appreciation and friendship to the Czech people.”
In June, the Czech Republic suffered catastrophic flooding, with the cost of the damage estimated at more than a billion Czech crowns. Děčín was one of the hardest-hit Czech communities; more than 1,600 of its 50,000 residents were evacuated, and many lower-lying buildings were ruined when water levels went up by 10 meters. Images of Děčín’s waterlogged library painted a dramatic portrait of the devastation – one that was eerily similar to Iowa’s own flood damage in 2008.
CR2CR originated early this summer during a friendly golf game between Hansen and Steve Groner of Cedar Rapids. The pair struck up a conversation about the news from the Czech Republic. Both recalled how, in 2008, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic delivered a flood-relief donation to Cedar Rapids of more than $500,000. It was among the first major contributions to the city, said Hansen, who had been serving as President of the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation at the time. Groner agreed that Cedar Rapids needed to repay that kindness.
“We find that the people of Cedar Rapids are very grateful and have a very generous heart,” says Groner. “We want to tell the people of Děčín, ‘We know what you’re going through. And we want to help.’”
Gifts of all sizes are welcome for the CR2CR fundraiser. All funds will go directly to Děčín for the library flood recovery project, and the names of all donors will be listed on a certificate. To help, send your check to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (in the memo put CR2CR).
Donors of more than $1,000 will be invited to join organizers for a visit to Děčín later this year, when the donation and certificate will be presented. Organizers say that nearly $20,000 of the $50,000 goal has already been pledged.
For more information, contact Steve Groner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tom Hansen at email@example.com , Katie Geiken at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jason Wright at email@example.com.
Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation
Sokol Cedar Rapids
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
St. Wenceslaus Church
For more information:
Steve Groner firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Hansen email@example.com
Katie Geiken firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Wright email@example.com
To help, send your check to:
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
1400 Inspiration Place SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
(in the memo put CR2CR).