Shannon Duval
Shannon Duval
Age 39 | President, Mercy Foundation


Shannon Duval was first introduced to the idea of philanthropy as a vocation when she was a graduate student at Indiana University and received a graduate assistantship at the university’s foundation.

Fifteen years later, Duval leads a 12-person team that generates private support for the Mercy Foundation, which supports Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, Mercy College of Health Sciences, the House of Mercy and Mercy Hospice.

“It’s rewarding and unique, because while I deal mainly with health care, I also deal a little with education, a little with social services,” she said.

Before working for the Mercy Foundation, Duval helped lead the fund-raising efforts for the St. Luke’s Health Care Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Iowa Foundation.

“Shannon is an incredible young woman with the talent, energy and ambition to succeed in any professional endeavor she undertakes and is also a role model of civic involvment,” wrote St. Luke’s Hospital President and CEO Ted Townsend in a nomination letter. “She took a low-performing organization and completely revamped and re-energized it within her first year with us.”

When not raising funds, Duval is working on raising a family. She and her husband, DeLane, have two young sons: Miller, 6, and Kiefer, 4.

Outside of work, Duval serves as a committee member for United Way of Central Iowa’s Women’s Leadership Connection. Her passion for being a mom and her work for St. Luke’s got her involved with the Iowa shapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers, a nonprofit organization that deals with the problems associated with child abuse. Duval sits on the board of directors and said the group aims to create as safe an environment as possible for children dealing with abuse.

“We want to create the best opportunity for that child after that kind of traumatic event,” she said.


Five reasons she’s a 40:

• Duval leads a 12-person fund-raising team, raising $5 million to $7 million annually for the Mercy Foundation, which supports Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, Mercy College of Health Sciences, the House of Mercy and Mercy Hospice.

• She is spearheading a $10 million campaign to renovate and expand the hospital’s pediatric and pediatric intensive care unit. A little more than $6 million has already been raised.

• She is a board member of the Iowa chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers.

• Duval serves as a member of United Way of Central Iowa’s Women’s Leadership Connection.

• She has also helped lead fund-raising efforts for the St. Luke’s Health Care Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Iowa Foundation.


Fun Fact:

While in high school, Duval toured Europe with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music. She said her favorite stop was a toss-up between London and Paris, and performing in the Notre Dame Cathedral was a dream.