MUSCATINE – For 12 years, Robert “Bob” and JoAnn Jensen have been offering scholarships to graduating students, and now they are adding a scholarship to Louisa-Muscatine schools.
“Our position is, Muscatine has been good to us,” Bob Jensen said. “Obviously, we've contributed to it, but Muscatine has been a good community to have our business in, and there's lots of good things going on here. Moving forward, we want to be a part of it, now that we are able to give back.”
Bob and JoAnn were high school sweethearts. Thirty-one years ago, Bob quit his job in HR at Bandag, and with JoAnn, opened Temp Associates in Muscatine.
“It was new to Muscatine and to the area, so there was a fairly big process to educate people on how a temporary help service worked,” Bob said. “We decided (12) years ago that we wanted to give back to the community, because the community had been very good to us in terms of our business and services.”
The Jensens’ scholarship fund offers four graduating students from Muscatine High, one from Wilton, and in 2018, one from Louisa-Muscatine a $3,500 scholarship renewable for up to four years.
Shelly Maharry is the associate director of the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine. The foundation assists in the administration of the Jensens’ scholarship fund. She said, for many students, these scholarships can have a tremendous impact.
“It gives them a sense that someone believes in them,” Maharry said. “They believe that they are valuable enough to support financially. And that there are other people who care about them and want them to succeed.”
You have free articles remaining.
Maharry sees the philanthropic efforts of people like the Jensens as connected with Muscatine’s past. It’s just what the community does.
“There is such entrepreneurial spirit in Muscatine,” Maharry said. “You know we were founded on people who have ambition and drive. I mean just like Bob and JoAnn, they decided to go off and start their own business and look at how successful it's been. That spirit drives us to want to be involved in issues that are happening. I think that drive to help and be involved and be part of the solution drives charitable giving in Muscatine.”
The way Bob has it figured, assistance with post-secondary education, for the business he runs, is the way to go.
“Many of our placements for employees are entry-level jobs,” Bob said. “And these people probably would need some financial assistance in terms of helping their sons and daughters going to college. Being in the employment business, the need for skills, a shortage of employees, we just felt like this would be a good way to give back.”
In keeping with that, they offer preference to graduating students with relatives who worked for Temp Associates.
“Good students. Good values. Financial need.” That’s what Bob said they look for when applications come in.
“We value education. We think it is important,” Bob said.