Staff

Our staff is happy to assist you with information about the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. If you have additional questions, please call 319.366.2862. Our office hours are Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Administration

Dr. Les Garner, Jr., President & CEO

Garner_Les studio color web only319.366.2862
les.garner@gcrcf.org

Les joined the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation as President & CEO in 2010. He works closely with the board to carry out the vision, mission and strategies of the Community Foundation. He provides leadership for charitable giving, community opportunities and administrative activities of the Community Foundation. Les enjoys working with donors to help them discover ways to meet their philanthropic goals.

Amy Logsdon, Executive Assistant and Donor Relations Officer

DSC_0010mcr

319.774.2364
amy.logsdon@gcrcf.org

Amy serves as the smiling, welcoming face of the Community Foundation as she greets visitors who call or arrive for meetings. She also provides a variety of support to the Community Foundation teams as assistant to the President & CEO, member of the development team, facilities manager, and coordinator of donor stewardship for family philanthropy.

Development

Michelle Beisker, Vice President of Development

Michelle 2014319.774.2362
michelle.beisker@gcrcf.org

Michelle provides guidance and support to donors to help them achieve their charitable giving goals. She is responsible for the asset development activities for the Community Foundation – overseeing donor service, stewardship, communication, as well as the administrative database and systems that support those activities.

Josie Velles, Director of Development Services

319.774.2363
josie.velles@gcrcf.org

Josie provides assistance to donors to help them with their philanthropic goals. She develops and oversees processes for donor services, including the online donor portal, Donor View. She likes being able to work with donors and agencies who are passionate about their commitment to building a strong community. Josie began at the Community Foundation in 2005, her current position is her fourth promotion within in the Community Foundation. Josie earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Iowa in Anthropology. Previously, Josie worked for nine years in development at the Milwaukee Public Museum and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.

DSC_0065mcrSusan Willey, Director of Planned Giving

319.366.2862
susan.willey@gcrcf.org

Susan is responsible for meeting with current fund holders and identifying, cultivating and soliciting planned gifts from potential donors.  She cultivates relationships with financial advisors, attorneys, accountants, insurance agents and other estate planning professionals regarding gift opportunities for fund holders and prospects.  Susan attended UCLA where she studied Political Science and Economics. She went on to get her Law Degree at the University of California Hastings College of the Law and her Masters in Tax Law from Georgetown University. Susan was a lawyer at Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman for tax, business and estate planning groups. She also worked at McGladrey in the National Tax Group for 23 years and was on the Senate Finance Committee of Senator Grassley’s Tax Council prior to that. Susan will serve as the incoming chair of the tax section of the Iowa State Bar Association.

Laura Booth, Donor Relations Officer

Laura Booth Web319.774.2367
laura.booth@gcrcf.org

Laura coordinates stewardship for nonprofit and affiliate fund holders, serves as the primary contact for the Endow Iowa Tax Credit Program, and is the principal liaison to the Board of Directors and the Council of Foundations for National Standards. She enjoys partnering with our area nonprofits who provide such invaluable services to our community. Laura is a Cedar Rapids native and graduate of Jefferson High School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Communication at the University of Northern Iowa. After graduation, Laura stayed in Cedar Falls, where she lived for 12 years. Her family, including her husband Joe and their two children, Nathan and Ashlyn, relocated to Cedar Rapids to be closer to family.

Christi Smeed, Development Assistant

319.774.2377
christi.smeed@gcrcf.org

Christi provides support within the development team at the Community Foundation by assisting with administrative operations including gift processing, donor acknowledgement, and donor database management. She graduated from Kansas State University with her Bachelors and Masters in Accounting. After completing her education, Christi and her husband Bill moved to Arizona where she worked in Public and Corporate Accounting for six years. In 2001, Christi and her husband moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For the last 15 years, Christi stayed home to care for her three children, Thomas, Christopher and Bethany, while actively volunteering in the community. She served as Girl Scout leader; volunteered at school, including serving as PTA president; and is actively involved as a volunteer at church. In her free time, Christi enjoys watching her children participate in their activities, such as swimming, tennis, orchestra, football and Discovery Chorus.

Programs

Karla Twedt-Ball, Senior Vice President, Programs and Community Investment

Karla 2014319.774.2371
karla.twedt-ball@gcrcf.org

Karla leads the program initiatives of the Community Foundation. She guides policy and strategy for grant making, nonprofit capacity building and community leadership, and helps guide the Community Foundation’s efforts to assist donors in meeting their philanthropic intent. Karla loves learning about the impressive work of local nonprofit organizations, and enjoys working with donors to help them accomplish their philanthropic goals.

Jenny Becker, Director of Grant Programs

319.200.2279
jenny.becker@gcrcf.org

Jenny comes to the Community Foundation with 15 years of experience in corporate philanthropy through her years at Rockwell Collins. A Minnesota native, Jenny and her husband moved to Cedar Rapids 1993. While they intended for it to be a short stay, they decided to raise their family here, in part because of the “authentic generosity of the people.”

She is an avid traveler, regularly making trips to visit her two adult daughters and son-in-law. She also enjoys spending  days at home reading and gardening.

Elizabeth Cwik, Program Officer

Elizabeth Cwik 2319.774.2372
elizabeth.cwik@gcrcf.org

Elizabeth manages all aspects of grants made from the Program Fund as well as nine corporate and family donor-advised funds. She also provides technical support for the online grant application process.

Rochelle Naylor, Program Officer

Rochelle Naylor color319.774.2373
rochelle.naylor@gcrcf.org

Rochelle manages several grant programs at the Community Foundation including the Organizational Development Fund, Endowment Challenge Fund, Linn County Fund, and President’s Fund, in addition to the education and scholarship programs. She enjoys being part of the Community Foundation’s work to strengthen nonprofit organizations in our community.

Bernadette Gladish, Program Assistant

Gladish_Bernadette Color319.774.2374
bernadette.gladish@gcrcf.org

Bernadette provides administrative and grants management support to the program team.

Bernadette is originally from Manila, Philippines but moved to California with her family after college. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Joseph’s College in Mass Communication and worked at the Paley Center for Media in Visitor Services Department for 13 years. Bernadette and her husband Daniel moved to Cedar Rapids to raise their children, Jullian and Claire.

Carrie Walker, Nonprofit Network Coordinator

DSC_0015mcr319.774.2375
carrie.walker@gcrcf.org

Carrie coordinates the activities of the Nonprofit Network, which provides resources for local nonprofit organizations including peer groups, professional development opportunities, and information. Carrie grew up in La Porte City, Iowa and then attended the University of Northern Iowa where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Public Relations. Carrie was the Development Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters for five years and worked at Henry Russell Bruce, a local advertising agency, prior to that. For the past 10 years, Carrie has been raising her kids while maintaining substantial volunteer work and running a small crafting business.

Finance

Jean Brenneman, Chief Financial Officer

319.774.2368
jean.brenneman@gcrcf.org

Jean is responsible for planning and directing the financial and accounting operations of the Community Foundation. This includes fund administration, investment oversight, financial reporting, budget preparation and human resource management. Jean graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA in Accounting and passed the CPA exam. Before the Community Foundation, she worked at McGladrey and Orchestra Iowa. Jean has been with the Community Foundation since 2007. She enjoys learning about the diversified pool of investments held by the Community Foundation and working with Emmy and Latonja to provide accurate and timely financial information to our donors and agencies.

Emmylou Ball, Controller

319.774.2369
emmylou.ball@gcrcf.org

Emmy is responsible for the maintenance of all Community Foundation financial records. She manages the accounts payable, grants payable, payroll, cash and fund management, and preparation of financial reports. She is also the primary liaison with the Community Foundation’s database provider. Emmy graduated from the University of Iowa with a business degree in Economics.

Latonja Scott, Accountant

319.200.2280
latonja.scott@gcrcf.org

Latonja is responsible for the maintenance and control of the general ledger and financial transactions of the Community Foundation. This includes analysis and thorough review of financial records. In addition, the Accountant assists the CFO in benefits administration and risk management.

 

Marketing

Corinne Ramler, Director of Marketing and Communications

Corinne Ramler Web319.774.2365
corinne.ramler@gcrcf.org
Corinne is responsible for leading the marketing and communications activities for the Community Foundation. She guides the strategy and educates the public about the Community Foundation’s role in philanthropy, grantmaking, and community initiatives.

Amber Waring, Marketing Associate

Amber Waring Photo Edited319.774.2366
amber.waring@gcrcf.org

Amber assists with the development of marketing and communications projects and materials. She also coordinates Community Foundation events and assists with donor stewardship. Amber grew up on a small farm in Walker, Iowa. She earned her bachelor of arts at Wartburg College in Communication Arts/Public Relations. She previously worked as the Marketing Specialist at Farmers State Bank in Marion, Iowa.

Kathryn Stack, Content Associate

319.774.2376
kathryn.stack@gcrcf.org

Kathryn provides a critical link between grantmaking services and donor services at the Community Foundation. She is responsible for writing informative and inspiring content to assist with and promote philanthropy and grantmaking in our community.  She also provides support for the competitive donor-advised grant process. Kathryn believes that storytelling is a powerful way to connect, learn and effect change. She enjoys telling the stories of how our philanthropic donors and nonprofits are making a difference.