A Closer Look
Give me a little background.
When I was in school, I interned at Mary Greeley Medical Center in the community relations department; I interned for the Iowa State athletic department; I was a conference manager and managed large-scale conferences that came in. I had a great experience. I learned the university system and had an opportunity to join the staff when I graduated. I focused much of my time at Iowa State in the external relations, which was alumni relations and major gift fund raising. My most recent title at Iowa State was senior director of development at the Iowa State University Foundation. I transitioned from that role into my current role.
Why the change?
(WesleyLife is) an amazing organization, phenomenal senior management team. They have a great program, great activities here in Central Iowa. They are an industry leader as they look to be innovative in community wellness and retirement care. We have 60,000 Iowans, just here in the Greater Des Moines area, that are above the age of 65. The fastest-growing segment of the population are those 85 and above here in Central Iowa. The advancement (fund-raising) side of WesleyLife, over the course of the past several years, has not been consistent. So the opportunity to really build a program from the ground up, to focus on several of our key projects, was very much an attractive opportunity. We have big goals and big dreams and we know it will take the investment of our donors to help us to get there.
What can you say about WesleyLife?
Our mission is to support the independence, health and well-being of individuals, wherever they call home. Our vision is to provide a continuum of wellness services to allow that to happen. And with the Baby Boomer generation coming, we have to be creative and innovative in how we deliver services to the customer. People know us for Wesley Acres and newly developed Edgewater, which are great communities for us. But we also have community-based programs. A key program that we deliver in the Des Moines area is our Meals On Wheels program. We serve over 250,000 meals to individuals per year. And that’s not a very well-known program through Wesley Life. So we need to develop strategies that enhance the advancement and development efforts around these community-based programs.
Tell me more about Meals On Wheels.
Of those 250,000 meals that are delivered, 85 percent are to individuals who cannot pay for a full meal on their own. So there are a lot of individuals in our community that need to be served, and we feel we fit that purpose. There’s a great opportunity to connect giving to this community-based program and connect with individuals who are making a decision: “Do I take my medication today or do I eat?” That’s a program that certainly will continue to grow.
What’s new at WesleyLife?
We have two capital projects. The first is the adult day center at Wesley Acres. That’s a $1.8 million facility expansion project, of which $850,000 is a private giving component. That facility has been at our campus for more than 20 years. There are only two adult day centers in the Greater Des Moines area.
What is your impression of Des Moines?
It’s a community that’s very interested in supporting philanthropic priorities. It’s a very giving community. It’s a very volunteer-centric community. Every individual that I’ve crossed paths with is very interested in advancing the many causes that are important to Des Moines. Individuals give where their passions are. I also see that. They are very smart about how they invest and where they invest and expect a return on that investment through impact in the community
What do you do in your spare time?
I focus on family. I love to golf and grill and cook. I’m a die-hard Cyclones fan, die-hard Bears fan. Those are what I focus my time on, when I can.