Cedar Rapids Foundation has new CEO - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids Foundation has new CEO

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)--- Les Garner, Jr. has joined the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation (GCRCF) as president and CEO, completing the leadership transition that began in March with the departure of Dan Baldwin. Garner is a widely recognized expert in higher education, public policy, and leadership.

"Les Garner fit the mold for the ideal candidate and he came to us as a locally well known and proven community leader of the highest integrity. His leadership and passion are sure to guide the foundation to new opportunities to benefit our donors, fund holders, grant recipients and the community," said Ron Olson, GCRCF board chair.

"I'm excited about leading the Community Foundation as we continue to build a better community through grant making and by helping donors achieve their philanthropic goals," said Garner.

The Community Foundation is hosting a welcome reception to introduce Les to the community and an open house for the new home of the GCRCF at the Torch Press building. The welcome reception and open house will be held Tuesday, August 31 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Community Foundation office at 324 3rd Street SE in downtown Cedar Rapids. Remarks will be made at 5:30 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, call 319.366.2862.

Garner most recently served as president of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, for the past 16 years. During his tenure, Garner created a strategic plan for the college's future that resulted in innovative opportunities for students. Garner launched several interdisciplinary initiatives including Dimensions: The Center for the Science and Culture of Healthcare, and The Berry Center for Economics, Business, and Public Policy.   These and many other campus improvements came during a time when Cornell's endowment more than doubled in size. Garner was key in leading a five-year, $92 million effort to enhance the college's endowment and upgrade its facilities. The campaign has raised more than $97 million to date.

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is a resource for Linn County, Iowa, funding nonprofit activities in four essential areas: Arts and Culture, Community Development and the Environment, Education and Health and Human Services. With total assets of $95 million as of Dec. 31, 2009, the mission of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is to connect donors to the priorities they care about and to the needs of the community, to increase charitable giving and to provide leadership on important community issues.

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