When Hannah Inman drives west on Interstate 235 and passes the 73rd Street exit, she wants to see kids playing in Walnut Creek at Colby Park. When she walks through a parking lot, she wants to see lots of kayaks, canoes or fishing poles on roof racks. 

“I want water trails to be as ingrained into the identity of being a Central Iowan as biking is,” she said. 

Just five years into her leadership at the Great Outdoors Foundation, her goal is well within reach. 

Dubbed “the most transformational quality-of-life project of our generation” by Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO Jay Byers, the $125 million Iowa Confluence Water Trails project, previously known as Central Iowa Water Trails, has reached 75% of its private fundraising goal. The project will transform 150 miles of waterways across 17 jurisdictions into a series of recreational opportunities. 

“Without Hannah, none of this would have been possible,” Cory Sharp, 2021 board chair of the Great Outdoors Foundation and principal at FEH Design, wrote in his recommendation letter. “She guided [the Great Outdoors Foundation] through these lofty goals with patience, poise and confidence.” 

Inman’s first experience with fundraising was when she was 15, helping her parents out with a capital campaign to build St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in her hometown of Lawrence, Kan. 

“It was such an amazing concept, watching the community come together with their time, talents and money to build this church,” she said. 

After stops in Austin, Texas, Washington, D.C., and in the private sales sector in Iowa, Inman realized that working in fundraising and community engagement is where she wanted to be. 

And if her place of employment coupled her love for the outdoors – some of her fondest memories are of camping, picking mulberries, and going canoeing and fishing when she was younger – then that would be a perfect fit. 

“When you’re in nature, you’re always happy,” she said. “When you reconnect people with nature, it seems to have a transformational impact on their life, mood and stability.” 

Inman wholeheartedly believes that through community partnerships, outdoor recreation can serve as a catalyst for both conservation and improving water quality. 

“Unless we have collaboration and partnership and a way to come together, we’re not going to have the impact that we want to see. We can’t point fingers. We’re in this together.” 


Education University of Iowa, bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science
Hometown Lawrence, Kan.  
Family Husband Mike, son Maverick (14), and daughter Everly (10)
Age 42 
Hobbies Cooking, cycling, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, watching basketball, entertaining friends and family conferences for women and teenagers


WORDS TO LIVE BY
“Leave things better than you found them.”  
My grandparents instilled this in me. I’m motivated by my children and my hopefully future grandchildren in that I hope they’re proud of the work that we did. I want to leave this world in a way that they’ll be proud of.


THREE AREAS OF INFLUENCE

Under Inman’s leadership and emphasis on public-private partnerships, the fundraising for the Iowa Confluence Water Trails project is in the homestretch.

In serving as the Capital Crossroads Natural Capital tri-chair, Inman worked to center equity throughout the water trails project by gathering feedback from different community groups like refugees, LGBTQ folks and people with disabilities. 

Inman is a board member at Brenton Arboretum and is on the planning and zoning commission for the city of Waukee.