Hafkemeyer will be new leader of Quad Cities Community Foundation

The Quad Cities Community Foundation will soon welcome a new leader. Sue Hafkemeyer will be the foundation’s next president and CEO, effective Wednesday, June 1.

Ms. Hafkemeyer will be joining the Community Foundation from MercyOne Dubuque Foundation. She has many years of experience in leadership and fundraising, according to Community Foundation leaders. 

She succeeds former Community Foundation CEO Sherry Ristau, who stepped down in August 2021, after seven years at the helm. In the last few months, Randy Moore, the board’s chair, has served as interim president and CEO.

“The board and staff extend a warm welcome to the new leader of our storied organization,” Mr. Moore said in a news release issued Sunday, April 25. “With her diverse background in philanthropy, her strong relationship-building skills, and her vision for community transformation, we’re confident in Sue’s ability to lead the way in opening the Community Foundation’s next big chapter.” 

Over the past five years as executive director of the MercyOne Dubuque Foundation (which provides philanthropic support to MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center), Ms. Hafkemeyer raised more than $8 million to support MercyOne programs. She also developed and implemented the foundation’s first planned giving program, among other achievements. 

Before that, she led communication and marketing efforts for nearly a decade at Loras College, Dubuque. 

As previous director of the Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, she partnered with other leaders in spearheading a $188 million riverfront revitalization, wrote grants and proposals totaling more than $50 million, and increased the annual operating budget from $300,000 to more than $1.1 million. She currently serves as board chair of United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join and lead an organization that has accomplished so much and that has so much potential for the future,” Ms. Hafkemeyer said in the release. “I’m looking forward to working together with the Community Foundation’s team — and with donors and nonprofits across the Quad Cities and beyond — to see where that potential can take us.”  

Ms. Hafkemeyer added that she is inspired by the example of her family. Her daughter, who as a student intern helped lead a program similar to the Community Foundation’s Teens for Tomorrow, has served on multiple nonprofit boards, including an upcoming term chairing the Foundation for Dubuque Public Schools. 

With her husband, John, Ms. Hafkemeyer is looking forward to taking advantage of the Quad Cities’ many amenities and building new relationships in the area. “We just love getting to know people,” she said. “Everybody’s been so friendly — it’s easy to see that this is a welcoming community.”

The incoming president and CEO sees an opportunity for the Community Foundation to continue developing its capacity as a connector and knowledge broker to advance the region in equity and inclusion and nurture diverse young leaders. “Equity is an essential part of community development, and I believe the Community Foundation has a key role to play,” she said.

“Getting to know Sue has been a true pleasure, and we’re excited for everyone else to do so, too,” said Jean Moran, board member and search committee chair. “As we close our national search, we thank the many wonderfully qualified candidates we’ve had the privilege to meet. It’s amazing to see that there are so many talented leaders out there committed to seeing communities flourish.”

Community Foundation officials added that Ms. Hafkemeyer’s broad base of experience has instilled in her the power of collaboration and the knowledge of how strategic partnerships can leverage growth in a community. 

“We can do more together,” Ms. Hafkemeyer said. “I value being a strong partner who comes to the table ready for discussion, who helps generate innovative ideas, and who acts as a resource. And I like to have fun doing it.”  

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