Nearly 300 community members gathered for Celebration of Community, an event hosted by the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Theatre Cedar Rapids to celebrate and recognize the work of nonprofits and the impact of grantmaking in our community.
“The programs and services of nonprofit organizations make our community a better place for all of us to live,” said Les Garner, President & CEO of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. “The nonprofit sector deals with some of our community’s greatest public challenges and opportunities. We are proud to work together with these organizations to improve the lives of our fellow citizens.”
The program featured several examples of philanthropy and nonprofits working together to create a vibrant community. It shared many recent grant-funded projects and featured a story of several nonprofits working together on a coordinated in-take model to better serve the homeless population in Linn County.
Two nonprofit excellence awards were also presented to nonprofit professionals who go above and beyond to support the mission of their organizations.
The Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of the chief executive officer of a Linn County nonprofit organization who offers exceptional leadership and creates a lasting impact on their organization and the community. This award was presented to Kathy L. Hall, Vice President, Development, Kirkwood Community College, and Executive Director, Kirkwood Foundation.
The Minnie Rubek Staff Excellence Award recognizes a nonprofit staff member who has gone “above and beyond” in their support of the organization’s mission and has greatly enhanced the overall effectiveness of the organization through his/her work. This award was presented to: Dave O’Clair, Facilities Director, Four Oaks.
In addition to an award, each recipient received a $1,000 grant from the Community Foundation designated for staff development at the honoree’s organization.
More information about each award winner is included below:
Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award: Kathy L. Hall, Vice President, Development, Kirkwood Community College, and Executive Director, Kirkwood Foundation
Kathy Hall has positively influenced the growth of three organizations over 25 years as an executive including Kirkwood Community College, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, and the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra. She serves numerous other nonprofits through volunteer leadership and informal counsel.
At Kirkwood, Kathy leads the Kirkwood Foundation, which consistently ranks among the top ten community college foundations nationally in annual surveys of fundraising results. During Kathy’s tenure, foundation assets doubled from $15 million in 2008 to $31 million in 2015. Kirkwood’s Real World Success campaign, its largest campaign to date, recently closed with 2,100+ donors participating and $18.9 million raised, well over the $12.5 million goal.
Kirkwood’s scholarship program is one of the largest in the country, with over $3 million in funding available for the 2016 academic year. Kirkwood’s program has tripled in size over the last ten years, awarding scholarships from several hundred internal funds to nearly 1,500 students.
Kathy’s additional responsibilities as a college Vice President include external relations and oversight of Kirkwood’s nationally recognized jazz-format public radio station, KCCK-FM.
At the Community Foundation, Kathy worked with the President and Board from 2003-2008 during a period of rapid growth. Assets increased from $22 million to nearly $100 million. She worked with donors to establish over 250 new funds and was responsible for the development of the William Quarton Heritage Society, a planned giving society, in which she enrolled over 200 donors within five years.
As executive director of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra from 1992-2003, Kathy was among leaders who worked with the City and the CRSO boards to design and implement an $8 million public/private campaign to renovate the Paramount Theatre. She also worked to acquire the adjacent building for the Symphony School and CRSO offices.
Kathy currently serves as President of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Board of Directors, Trustee for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a member of the Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Network Advisory Committee, and United Way’s Workplace Volunteer Council. She is an active member of several professional organizations and a past director of numerous other nonprofit boards. She often volunteers or consults with other organizations on nonprofit issues and fundraising topics.
Over the last 25 years, Kathy’s leadership, vision, integrity, and compassion have made a difference in our region.
Minnie Rubek Staff Excellence Award: Dave O’Clair, Facilities Director, Four Oaks
In his 25 years with Four Oaks, Dave O’Clair has held many roles. None were more critical than the work he is doing now with the TotalChild housing strategy. Dave is part of team, with the Four Oaks affiliate agency – The Affordable Housing Network – and many community partners, which has purchased and rehabbed nearly 100 properties in Wellington Heights. Since 2013, Dave has worked in an 18-block, historical district and returned a neighborhood to its single-family home roots.
Dave started at Four Oaks as a Social Worker, working with boys with challenging mental health and behavior issues. With that skill set, it’s no wonder that he’s been successful in getting to know the people in the neighborhood. He takes extra time to understand their needs and challenges to better serve the neighborhood. This has led to better results in housing and bringing residents together.
Wellington Heights isn’t Dave’s only success either. From 2009 -2011, he managed the reconstruction of 400 apartment units at Cedar Valley and Hawthorne Hills. Dave tirelessly worked with clients with mental health challenges to solve their issues. He coordinated with city and state officials. He managed the challenge of moving people around by being available to work with them at all hours and days of the week.
Dave has held many roles and had great success at Four Oaks. He has evolved by leveraging both his social work and construction skills to play a role critical in the community. It’s a role few others could play.
Dave’s commitment to the families he serves, his compassion for helping to meet their needs, and his vision for neighborhoods is inspiring. Dave’s efforts have made a tremendous difference in our community.