New Board of Directors Officers and Members Appointed

Published: January 26, 2021 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

In December, the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors thanked three exiting members for their years of service. Amy Lynch, Peggy Hardesty and Julie Nosek have all helped the Community Foundation respond to Linn County’s needs and opportunities over the last six years. “Our community is fortunate to have so many people who are willing to share their time and talents,” said Les Garner, President & CEO. “These three individuals have worked hard to better our organization and community, and while we’re sad to see them go, we’re happy to welcome four new board members who have the same commitment to service.”

Additionally, the Board of Directors is being led by newly appointed officers. Charlie Schimberg has been appointed Chair and Kate Minette will remain active in Community Foundation governance as Past-Chair. Okpara Rice has been appointed Chair-Elect. Additionally, Mike Sheeley will serve as Treasurer and Sue Olson will serve as Secretary.

The new board members include local leaders in several industries. With backgrounds in finance, management, health administration, and insurance, they bring a wealth of talent and experience. It is with great enthusiasm that we introduce the Community Foundation’s newest directors.


Kari Cooling

Senior Vice President and Market Leader – Holmes Murphy

Kari has extensive experience in insurance, marketing and finance. A leader in the Cedar Rapids community, Kari also serves on the Board of Directors for United Way of East Central Iowa. Additionally, Kari is a volunteer of Waypoint Services, AGC of Iowa, Master Builders of Iowa, and the Innovation Council for the Economic Alliance.

“I am honored to be serving on the Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation,” Kari said. “The work the Foundation has done over the past 70 years has been vital for our vibrant community. It’s a privilege to help serve and fulfill the mission for years to come.” In her spare time, Kari loves to spend time with her husband Wes and their three children, Drew, Jack, and Ella. She also enjoys running and has completed three full marathons and multiple half marathons.


Jim Haddad

Startup Business Mentor and Consultant

As the former COO of McLeodUSA Publishing and CFO of YellowBook USA, Jim has a long history of successful leadership. and has more than 20 years of leadership experience. He is a volunteer for several area organizations, including United Way, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and EDC/Iowa Seed Fund.

“In my many years in the community, I have always admired the good work that the Community Foundation does in so many areas,” Jim said. “I see their footprints everywhere and am looking forward to helping continue its mission as a board member.”


Stacey Halyard

Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor – Morgan Stanley

Stacey brings with her more than 30 years of experience in the finance industry. After studying economics, Stacey worked on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade and Wall Street before returning to Iowa. Prior to leaving New York, she served as a director in charge of strategic planning for Merrill Lynch’s international Futures and Options Group. She now focuses on portfolio design and investment management, serving as the Portfolio Management Director for The Bancks Halyard Group.

“I’m honored to join the talented and diverse Board of Directors and staff at the Community Foundation,” Stacey said.  “They have been instrumental, especially in the past year, in engaging and leading our community through philanthropic efforts to overcome both the COVID-19 pandemic and the derecho. I’ve long admired their work and I am excited to join in it.”



Michelle Niermann

President and Chief Executive Officer – UnityPoint Cedar Rapids

Michelle is a healthcare leader with extensive experience in healthcare system operations, strategic planning, and organizational development. She currently serves as President & Chief Executive Officer for UnityPoint Health –Cedar Rapids, where she started her career as an administrative fellow. She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served on the boards of several area nonprofits.

“The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation plays an important role in supporting important collaborative initiatives and advancing change in our community,” Michelle said. “Our community is stronger for the work the Community Foundation does to connect donors to causes they care about and to strengthen nonprofits. I look forward to serving on the Board of Directors.”


A complete list of Board members and officers can be found here.

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