Josie Velles—A Community Foundation Stalwart

Published: July 13, 2021 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

Recently, the Community Foundation’s Josie Velles was promoted to Senior Director of Development Services. In this new role, Josie will continue to oversee the processes that ensure accurate, timely, and effective service to help donors fulfill their charitable wishes.


As the longest-tenured employee at the Community Foundation, Josie has an in-depth understanding of the challenges our community has faced and has witnessed the commitment to progress our citizens have. Josie is also incredibly modest, and not enough people in our community are aware of her dedication and hard work. To right this wrong, we asked Josie a few questions, which she was kind enough to answer.


How has the Community Foundation grown and changed since you started here?

I started at the Community Foundation in June of 2005. In terms of growth of assets, number of funds and grants out to the community the change has been amazing. I have been lucky enough to see firsthand the effects of the transformative gift that Bill Quarton made to the Community Foundation, the anonymous donor who gave the seed funding for what would grow into the Nonprofit Network, and the overwhelming support from thousands of people during times of crisis. In terms of staff, in has grown from a small but mighty staff of five in 2005 to 20 staff members today. But the heart of the organization, and its mission to support the community hasn’t changed.


What do you like best about serving donors?

Understanding someone’s journey in philanthropy is inspiring and uplifting to me. Donors come to us wanting to make a positive impact on our community, and I get to help them on that journey. Working with people who want to make a difference is very fulfilling.


Why is the Community Foundation an important resource for the community?

Donors come to us with a wide range of questions and goals. Through our grantmaking, the Nonprofit Network, and our community leadership work, we have a good sense of the community’s current and developing challenges and opportunities. We can connect the donors to these causes and help them determine where they can have the greatest impact. Occasionally our donors also have really innovative ideas. Our ability to convene the right groups to create new responses to complex issues is an invaluable asset for our community.


Where would you like to see the Community Foundation heading in the future?

I don’t know where the future will take us, but I know the Community Foundation continues to be adaptable enough to overcome any obstacles or thrive with any new opportunities the future holds. We are always balancing both the short- and long-term interests of the community—we respond to today’s needs, but we are stewards for gifts that will support Linn County’s future. It’s not an exciting answer, but I would like to see the Community Foundation staying on that path.

Visit the Nonprofit Giving Center and the Nonprofit Calendar to search for a nonprofit fund, organization, cause, or event to support.