2018 Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award

Brian Stutzman
Executive Director, YPN 

The 2018 Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award is presented posthumously to Brian Stutzman, who served as the Executive Director of YPN from the year 2000 until his sudden death in July of 2018. The award nomination was submitted by 29 Cedar Rapids area nonprofit leaders.

Brian Stutzman was a uniquely gifted and dedicated leader, not just for the organization that he served for more than two decades (YPN), but for the greater Cedar Rapids community as a whole. Colleagues and peers describe Brian as a trusted confidant, an ego-free collaborator, and a man who wanted all nonprofits to succeed. He was an open and honest communicator who always spoke his mind, especially on issues that affected the nonprofit sector. In short, Brian was a nonprofit executive who committed his entire career to selflessly leading others to achieve a common vision through his positive influence—what one colleague described as “his greatest gift.”

Brian’s work in the community was guided by a genuine spirit of collaboration. When the idea of the Sister Mary Lawrence Community Center emerged several years ago, Brian suggested that the nonprofit tenants mount a joint capital campaign. He understood the groups were stronger together and there was no need to compete.

Brian was also never one to covet his trade secrets. While serving on the board of YPN’s neighboring nonprofit Gems of Hope, Brian called on his considerable organizational development experience at YPN to help lead “Gems” from being volunteer-driven to hiring staff—something that leaders described as a transformational effort.

When a fellow community leader worked to launch a new initiative with Brian, success was never far behind. From the long-running Cedar Rapids Latino Festival (which YPN has driven for many years) to the Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank (which now distributes more than 13,000 diapers each month from YPN’s We Care Shop), Brian identified needs and worked tirelessly to meet them. It was Brian’s creativity and understanding of the true value of a “hand-up” that helped inform the core of the diaper program: Mothers and fathers earn diapers by doing something good for their babies and/or themselves.

Brian was tremendously effective in his role, building a team at YPN that is proudly carrying on his legacy today through a number of high-impact community endeavors. As evidenced by the stories told and the more than two dozen nominators, Brian’s humility, humor and warm heart endeared him to countless numbers of colleagues over the years. But his drive to bring people together to do good for those most vulnerable in our community made Brian Stutzman a once-in-a-generation kind of leader and an inspiration.

2018 Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award
Nominators for Brian Stutzman:
Pat Airy, Goodwill of the Heartland
Anne Armknecht, The Arc of East Central Iowa
Mike Barnhart, Horizons, A Family Service Alliance
Emily Blomme, Foundation 2
Jeff Capps, Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity
Jane Drapeaux, HACAP
Andy Fitzgerald, Neighborhood Development Corp. of Cedar Rapids
Barbara Gay, Area Substance Abuse Council, Inc.
Anne Gruenewald, Four Oaks
Norah Hammond, Gems of Hope
Jenifer Hanson, Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center
Linda Henecke, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids & East Central Iowa
F. John Herbert, Legion Arts
Kathy Kaiden, YPN
Christine Landa, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa
Joe Lock, Eastern Iowa Health Center
John Myers, Indian Creek Nature Center
Julie Palmer, Olivet Neighborhood Mission
Melissa Pence, Alzheimer’s Association Iowa Chapter
Shannon Ramsay, Trees Forever
Okpara Rice, Tanager Place
Darlene Schmidt, Community Health Free Clinic
Jenny Schulz, Kids First Law Center
Tim Stiles, United Way of East Central Iowa
Phoebe Trepp, Willis Dady Homeless Services
John Tursi, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids
Clint Twedt-Ball, Matthew 25
Charity Tyler, Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation
Leslie Wright, United Way of East Central Iowa