As 2021 came to a close, the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors elected new officers and welcomed two new members. Okpara Rice, Chief Executive Officer at Tanager Place, will serve as Chair. Other Board Officers include Charlie Schimberg, President of Schimberg Companies as Past Chair; Diana Ledford, President and CEO at Fore Fold Ventures as Chair Elect; Jon Landon, Attorney and Vice President at Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, PLC as Secretary; and Mike Sheeley, Vice President and Corporate Marketing Director at UFG Insurance, as Treasurer. Okpara is the first Black Board Chair in the Community Foundation’s history.
“I am overjoyed for the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation,” said Okpara, CEO of Tanager Place. “It truly is an honor to be able to shepherd the work that is so vital to the vibrancy and health of this community. As the next Chair, I am both eager and humbled to work alongside the tremendous team and the passionate, dedicated board who are sincere and steadfast in their efforts to advance the mission of the Community Foundation.”
New board members Janice Kerkove and Mary Junge began their three-year terms on January 1. They bring with them a wealth of professional and volunteer experience.
Janice, an attorney with Bradley & Riley PC, has been practicing for more than 20 years. She specializes in estate planning, probate, tax law, trusts and wills, and has served on numerous boards and committees in the community.
“As an attorney, I have helped clients make gifts through the Community Foundation for many years,” Janice said. “I have been impressed by the knowledge, professionalism, and flexibility demonstrated by the staff, and I am excited to play a small part in fulfilling the Community Foundation’s mission.”
Mary retired in 2018 after selling Junge Control, an agriculture technology business she started with her husband and owned for 40 years. She also worked as an estate planning and tax attorney, and currently manages her family farm. Mary has served on the Community Foundation’s Linn County Grants Committee and Development Committee.
“The Community Foundation played an important role in our business exit plan, and I hope to encourage other business owners to do the same,” Mary said. “I first became involved with the Community Foundation in 2005 as a donor, and I’m excited to bring that perspective to the Board.”
Janice and Mary fill the seats left by Kate Minette and Sue Olson, who both served on the Board for six years.
“I am very grateful that Kate and Sue shared their time and talents with the Community Foundation,” said Les Garner, President & CEO. “They have been exemplary board members and will be missed. Their commitment has helped position our organization and our community for success in the future.”
The Community Foundation relies on committed volunteer Board and committee members to fulfill its mission. A diverse pool of members with varying skills and demographics is desired. An Indication of Interest form can be found here for those in Linn County who are interested in serving in a volunteer leadership position.