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Advisory Committees: What They Do and Why It’s Important

February 13, 2020

A Leadership Note Blog Post by Pete Tulipana

In January of this year we welcomed five new members to the Iowa West Foundation Advisory Committees. There are three committees total, each one with expertise in one of our focus areas: Education, Healthy Families and Placemaking.

In an effort to uphold our standards for transparency, we wanted to share more about why these committees were created and how they work. First and foremost, these committees have the important task of reviewing our grants after the staff-led due diligence process but before board approval. This is a critical and community centric piece of the grantmaking process, as all of our committee members live or work in Pottawattamie County.

Beyond that, they also serve two key functions:

  • To be additional liaisons to the community. With a staff of only nine people, it’s important that we have more sets of eyes and ears throughout southwest Iowa who specialize in differing industries and can offer their insight into what makes programs and projects impactful.
  • To be ambassadors of the Iowa West Foundation’s grantmaking efforts. We strive to be an open organization, and rely on our advisory committee members to spread the wealth of information to the broader community. It’s vital that grantees and community members have the most up to date, accurate information about our processes.

You should also know that there are term limits in place. Committee members serve a maximum of two, three-year stints. They are also required to sign annual conflict of interest forms, meaning if members are affiliated with potential grantees in any way, they are required to recuse themselves and abstain from the discussion (by leaving the room for the entirety of the conversation on that particular grant). It’s a governance process we take very seriously and -in the interest of transparency- wanted to share with you.  Additionally, members are required to maintain strict confidentiality regarding the proposals they review and the recommendations made by the group.

This year’s new members include: (pictured from left-right).

Bailey McQueen-Jones – Education
Debbie Orduna – Healthy Families
Mike Alford – Placemaking
Shelley Whitcher – Healthy Families
Dave Wise – Placemaking

View a full list of advisory committee members.

We are truly grateful for the time and collective service of all 22 of our advisory committee members. Their diverse backgrounds and years of experience provide invaluable input for the Foundation to utilize in making funding decisions. We hope this article has shed some light on a behind the scenes group that deserves to be recognized by the community they serve and call home.

Pete Tulipana

Written by Pete Tulipana, Former President & CEO

OUR VISION is a community where families choose to live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its quality of life and standard of living.


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