Iowans generally take great pride in their state and have a special attachment to its people. Two native Iowans embraced their fondness of Iowa and created The Native Fund--a nonprofit organization that thinks of itself simply as "Iowans helping Iowans".
The Native Fund is the brainchild of Dallas Clark and Ashton Kutcher. In 2008, both felt helpless watching the devastation created by the catastrophic flooding in Cedar Rapids and wished from their respective out-of-state homes at the time that there was some way they could help--help not only in that particular disaster but future ones as well. In their conversations, the concept for The Native Fund was born.
"The neighborliness that is so inherent for me and many Iowans doesn't go away just because you may not be living in Iowa at the moment," said Clark. "The urge to help out was especially frustrating because it felt like it wasn't feasible. My hope is that The Native Fund will provide an avenue for Iowans, both near and far, to directly help Iowans in their times of need."
Before an eleven-year NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Baltimore Ravens, Clark grew up in rural Iowa and starred on the gridiron for the Iowa Hawkeyes. His roots in Iowa are deep and upon his retirement from the NFL, he and his family returned to Iowa and now reside in Humboldt County. Kutcher is an accomplished actor, model, and entrepreneur and currently spends a majority of his time on the coasts or wherever his work requires. However, no matter where he may be, Iowa remains in the forefront of his mind. With Clark having more time to commit post-retirement, and their collective desire to make this worthy cause a reality, The Native Fund's fundraising efforts and mission began taking shape.
The Native Fund is committed to raising funds and organizing resources that can be used to assist the people of Iowa in their times of need. Specifically, The Native Fund will provide assistance and relief through its financial and programmatic resources to Iowans suffering from a natural disaster, to Iowa's post-9/11 veterans of the United States Armed Forces who are in need medical or other assistance, and to Iowa children afflicted with life-threatening illness or disease.
The Native Fund's initiatives are focused on: (a) bridging existing gaps between available assistance and where needs still exist and (b) providing a means by which people who want to help can contribute through volunteerism or financial support from anywhere around the world. Those contributions will be collected and allocated to programs for, and assistance to, Iowa residents in their time of need.
In an effort to continue, and make easier, the long-standing tradition of neighbors helping neighbors, The Native Fund exists as a vehicle by which Iowans can live out The Native Fund's mission of "Iowans helping Iowans". When disaster strikes in Iowa or when The Native Fund's intended beneficiaries are otherwise in distress, people can contribute to The Native Fund's efforts and know the resources will be utilized to provide relief to those affected.