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Community Foundation dedicates new campus and C3 Center

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Kristi Knous, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, speaks at a dedication of the foundation’s new campus and C3 Center during a dedication ceremony on Wednesday. Photo by Betsy DeGlopper, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

Calling it a “hinge moment” in the history of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, leaders and supporters and friends of the foundation dedicated the new Community Foundation Campus and C3 Center on Wednesday.

The foundation announced the decision to purchase the former Tri-City Electric building on Ingersoll Avenue directly behind the foundation’s headquarters in the Finkbine Mansion in late 2021, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in May 2022 to mark the beginning of construction on what will serve as a central hub to the region’s nonprofit and charitable giving communities.

On Wednesday, the leaders and staff of the foundation gathered in the new space to celebrate its completion and to mark the next phase in the foundation’s history.

“This campus holds the future of your Community Foundation of Greater Des moines as we continue to grow and flourish alongside our community,” said Kristi Knous, the foundation’s president. “You have planted the seeds for our future, and now we get to watch them take root.”

Franklin Codel, chair of the foundation’s board, said the foundation has “done a wonderful job over recent years convening, driving conversation and helping to provide oxygen and focus on community projects and issues.”

“Here today, we stand in another hinge moment,” he said. “The C3 Center as it comes online here is something that I am highly confident that for years to come people will say this was the moment that the Community Foundation took their work up to another level in the role it plays in the community and the support it provides for nonprofit organizations.”

Following the ceremony, the C3 Center was opened for tours so those in attendance could see the new workspace, boardroom and collaboration areas.

Afterward, Knous said planning for facility needs was included in the foundation’s strategic plan, and that the former Tri-City Electric building was the perfect fit for those plans while maintaining its presence in the Finkbine Mansion.

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The boardroom in the new Community Foundation Campus and C3 Center. The boardroom is named after former Principal President and CEO Barry Griswell, who also served as president of the Community Foundation. Photo by Betsy DeGlopper, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

“The stars just aligned with the timing with this property being available,” she told the Business Record following the ceremony. “We love the iconic Finkbine but there was so much we could do with more space, and then to have the opportunity to have training space for nonprofit use, to have board space for nonprofit use as well as our own, it just couldn’t have been better.”

Knous said the foundation’s commitment to community and community leadership, convening, and being a catalyst for change isn’t going to change.

“That’s the future of the Community Foundation, in addition to promoting charitable giving and being the backbone of charitable giving in our community and around the state, that’s key to what we do as well,” she said. “This is absolutely putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to convening, having those critical conversations, and bringing all voices to a larger table.”

The Community Foundation staff moved into the C3 Center a month ago and Lead DSM moved in last week, with other tenants looking at using the space, Knous said.

She said the $4.4 million project was funded by contributions by a small number of donors, including close friends and family of the foundation, current and past board members and leadership, and key donors.

“We don’t want to compete with our nonprofit sector when it comes to fundraising, so we saw this as a both-and. This was in addition to what they were normally supporting,” Knous said.

She said seeing the Community Foundation Campus and the 12,480-square-foot C3 Center become a reality is emotional for her because of what it means for her team.

“It’s taking it to the next level,” Knous said. “I’ve been there for so many of those hinge moments. I know we were really crammed in that space [at Finkbine Mansion]. I know how excited they were to come over here. I know how on fire they are about activating this space for the community. It just makes me very excited for them and all they have accomplished.”

Community Foundation kitchen
A new kitchen named after past Community Foundation President Johnny Danos is seen in this photo inside the Community Foundation’s campus and C3 Center. In the background is Maddie’s Place Training Center, named after Maddie Levitt, who was an active community leader and philanthropist. Photo by Betsy DeGlopper, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.


Michael Crumb

Michael Crumb is a senior staff writer at Business Record. He covers economic development, transportation, energy & environment, culture, sales & marketing.

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