A community bank and its Dubuque-based holding company announced today that they will commit up to $200,000 to a local disaster recovery fund.

Dubuque Bank & Trust and parent company Heartland Financial USA will donate to the Greater Dubuque Disaster Recovery Fund, which recently was activated by Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. Officials shared details of the contribution with the Telegraph Herald ahead of its public announcement today.

The fund was designed to help the region get through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be committed in the form of a “challenge match,” with the financial institutions matching each dollar contributed by the community, up to $200,000.

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“We feel that we have a responsibility, not only to our employees and customers, but also to our community,” said DB&T President and CEO Lynn “Tut” Fuller. “That is the essence of why we are doing this.”

The commitment from DB&T is part of a broader effort by Heartland Financial and its 11 member banks. Heartland leaders this week announced contributions totaling $1.2 million to support nonprofit organizations in communities across the company’s footprint.

Heartland President and CEO Bruce Lee said there is a sense of urgency when it comes to supporting those in need of assistance.

“It is important that we get resources to the agencies that can support these groups and make it happen quickly,” he said.

Nancy Van Milligen, the community foundation’s president and CEO, said more than $1.1 million now has been contributed to the fund. More than $312,000 of that amount has been distributed.

The funds helped area residents pay their rent and utility bills and obtain essential items such as groceries and health supplies.

Van Milligen believes there will be an ongoing need for this type of assistance.

“Low-income individuals are the ones who are hurt most by a crisis like this and have the least capacity to take care of their basic needs,” said Van Milligen.

DB&T and Heartland employees have witnessed the impacts of COVID-19 on multiple fronts.

Workers at Heartland’s member banks, including DB&T, are logging long hours to process $1.5 billion in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal program that aims to help businesses keep workers on their payroll.

Fuller said the strain facing businesses and individuals is exacerbated by the realization that it is unclear how this situation will play out.

“What we are facing now is hardship combined with uncertainty,” he said. “That is not a good mix.”