Dr. Les Garner, Jr.
President & CEO
Les joined the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation as President & CEO in 2010. He works closely with the board to carry out the vision, mission and strategies of the Community Foundation. He provides leadership for charitable giving, community opportunities and administrative activities of the Community Foundation. Les enjoys working with donors to help them discover ways to meet their philanthropic goals.
Les most recently served as president of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, from 1994 to 2010. During his tenure, President Garner created a strategic plan for the college’s future that resulted in innovative opportunities for students. He was key in leading a successful five-year, $108 million effort to enhance the college’s endowment and upgrade its facilities. Les was also previously president of North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Prior to this appointment, he served as assistant professor of business administration and director of the Young Executives Institute at the University of North Carolina. He also served as special assistant to the director at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.
Les received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in history and holds master’s and doctoral degrees in public policy from Harvard University.
Les lives in Mount Vernon with his wife Katrina. They have two sons, Brantley and William. Les appreciates the opportunities and the extraordinary quality of life that pervades the Cedar Rapids community through education, arts and culture, and the ability to enjoy the physical environment.
Click here to view a video message from President & CEO, Les Garner, about how the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation creates opportunities for everyone.