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*Iowa Community Foundations Initiative Program* 2020 Connect Community Foundations Virtual Conference

September 22, 2020 @ 10:00 am - September 30, 2020 @ 12:00 pm


September 22 – 23 Content Sessions via Zoom
September 29 – 30 Peer-Learning Circle Sessions via Zoom

*Registration has closed. If you have any questions, please contact our office.*


ICoF’s Annual Connect Community Foundations Virtual Conference will be held September 22-23 and September 29-30 via Zoom.  Join colleagues from around the state to learn from regional and national experts about trends in philanthropy and best practices for community foundations. This conference is designed to provide a framework for thinking about how local community foundations can create positive change in their region and give volunteers and staff an opportunity to learn from one another. This is a free opportunity sponsored through the Iowa Community Foundations Initiative and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Idea Implementation Grants up to $1,500 per community foundation will again be available this year but will look a bit different due to the Conference being held virtually. We will share more information about this year’s grant process during the opening Connect session on September 22.

Below is a detail of our conference agenda. When you register, please indicate which sessions you plan to participate in, so we have an idea of how many people will be participating in each session. We will provide all of the information you need to connect to the Zoom platform in an email that will be sent prior to the conference. Please contact us with any questions!



10 – 11:30 am Conference Welcome + Legislative Update 
Kari McCann Boutell, Iowa Council of Foundations
David Adelman, Cornerstone Government Affairs

Join us for this session as we launch the 2020 Connect Community Foundations Virtual Conference! You will learn more about the conference agenda and grant funding opportunities available for your community foundation. David Adelman will provide a legislative update and preview of the 2020 election. You will also hear from community foundation colleagues around the state regarding their COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

1 – 2:30 pm Affiliate Session Part I
Boards on Fire: Creating an Environment Conducive to Leadership
Susan Howlett, Nonprofit Consultant and Author
Designed for affiliates. Hosts and standalones are welcome!

These days, we really need our board and advisory committee members to be strategic leaders, compelling ambassadors, and powerful fundraisers, but they struggle with these roles if systems aren’t in place that foster success. You’ll leave this interactive conversation with simple structures you can initiate immediately, without spending precious money or time.



10 – 11:30 am Affiliate Session Part II Finding the Good Ones: How to Build a Pipeline of Model Board Members
Susan Howlett, Nonprofit Consultant and Author
Designed for affiliates. Hosts and standalones are welcome!

We’re all looking for great leaders to populate our boards and advisory committees, but suitable nominees can seem elusive. This highly interactive conversation will uncover how to generate a waiting list of excellent candidates – who truly represent your community – ready to land running when they get on your board or committee.

1 – 2:30 pm Embracing Trust-Based Philanthropy to Advance Equity in Your Organization and Community

Shaady Salehi, Trust-Based Philanthropy Project
Pam Ross, Central Indiana Community Foundation

Designed for host and standalones. Affiliates are welcome!

The demands for racial justice following the killing of George Floyd and the loss of many other Black lives, amidst a global pandemic that has illuminated health disparities, has many community foundations exploring their roles in advancing equity and justice. Community foundations play a unique role in advancing equity through their grantmaking, community leadership and donor development efforts. Evidence shows relationships with grantees, partners and donors are stronger when they are built on the foundation of trust. Using a lens of trust-based philanthropy enables foundations to proactively address power imbalances with their grantees and partners and to foster relationships that will allow for deeper learning, understanding and, ultimately, more effective organizations and outcomes.

This session will dive into the core values and principles of trust-based philanthropy, how you can put them to work in your community and foundation, and strategies to engage and educate your donors to understand how they too can redistribute power and support equity through trust-based practice. The session will feature Shaady Salehi, Director of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, and Pam Ross, Vice President of Opportunity, Equity & Inclusion at the Central Indiana Community Foundation. We will also highlight examples of how community foundations in Iowa have already embraced these principles and are working to advance equity in their own communities.

These peer-learning circle conversations will provide an opportunity for you to pose questions to your peers at other community foundations throughout Iowa. Iowa Council of Foundations staff will monitor the conversations and you will be asked to submit questions in advance to help guide the conversation.


  • 9 – 10 am | Finance Staff
  • 11 am – 12 pm | Marketing & Communications Staff 
  • 1 – 2 pm | Affiliate Staff, Contractors, & Volunteers


  • 9 – 10 am | Development & Fundraising Staff
  • 11 am – 12 pm | Grants & Program Staff

You are welcome to participate in more than one Peer-Learning Circle. Please indicate which Peer-Learning Circles you would like to join in your registration.

Our Speakers

David Adelman, Cornerstone Government Affairs

David Adelman joined Cornerstone Government Affairs in 2010, bringing over 10 years of substantial experience in grassroots advocacy, developing and implementing strategic legislative campaigns, drafting and analyzing legislative language and reports and establishing, administering and advising political action committees.

Before joining Cornerstone, David worked for a law firm in West Des Moines where his practice focused on government relations, legislative law, PAC compliance and strategic advising, and election law. David continues to secure millions of dollars for clients through appropriation language, enables clients to

secure major policy changes in a variety of issue areas and helps defeat language that would have been detrimental to clients’ interests.

Prior to his role at the law firm, David worked with the Department of Justice, in the Iowa Attorney’s General Office and clerked in the State Senate.

David worked in Washington, D.C. at the Democratic National Committee where he helped to design the voter protection program in 2004 and returned to Des Moines where he assisted in the establishment of the legal protection network for the Iowa Democratic Party. David served two terms on the Iowa Democratic State Central Committee; the Board of Directors for the Democratic Party.

Raised in Des Moines, David earned a B.S. in Marketing and Business Legal Studies from Miami University, and a certificate in International Business studying in London, England. He received his law degree with a Legislative Practice Certificate from Drake University Law School.

David and his wife, Liz, reside in Des Moines where they are active in the community and have three sons, Michael, Benjamin and Sam.



Susan Howlett, Nonprofit Consultant and Author

Susan Howlett has been helping organizations thrive since 1975.  Her consulting has helped thousands of groups clarify their missions and goals, create plans, and raise money from every type of source – joyfully! Susan’s practical solutions to recurring problems faced by boards and staff have earned acclaim among grassroots organizations, major institutions, grantors and businesses alike.

Core faculty since 1990 in the 9-month Fundraising Certificate Program at the University of Washington, Susan received UW’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004. She’s taught courses on boards, fundraising and grantwriting at a dozen other colleges throughout the Northwest. Originally from Montana, Susan has lived in Seattle since 1975. She’s happily married, has two grown children, and spends her non-work time gardening, rowing crew, and serving on the boards of social justice organizations.



Shaady Salehi, Trust-Based Philanthropy Project

Shaady Salehi is a strategist, facilitator, and network builder who has dedicated nearly 20 years to advancing social impact across various sectors. She currently serves as the director of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, a 5-year learning and advocacy initiative to make trust-based practices the norm in the philanthropic sector. She also is Principal and Founder of Skyview Strategies, a social impact consultancy for nonprofits, foundations, and changemakers. Previously, Shaady was Managing Director of Distribution and Impact at ITVS, where she led a team to advance the reach and impact of documentaries on public television. Prior to ITVS, she was Executive Director of Active Voice, a pioneering organization that uses storytelling to catalyze social change. Shaady is a 2014 Aspen Institute Fellow and sits on the board of Let It Ripple, a nonprofit that experiments with collaborative filmmaking for the common good. She holds an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and an M.A. in Anthropology from UC Davis. She is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and currently lives in San Francisco.


Pam Ross, Central Indiana Community Foundation

Pamela is Central Indiana Community Foundation’s (CICF) first vice president of opportunity, equity and inclusion. Pamela leads the organization’s internal process of ensuring equitable policies and practices are operationalized and exemplified in all work of the foundation.  She’s also responsible for leading CICF’s organizational initiatives that support increased equity, inclusive economic growth and racial awareness in Central Indiana.

Pamela joined CICF September, 2016 as a community leadership officer and was promoted to her current position April, 2018. Pamela has her masters in social work from the University of Georgia with a concentration focused on community development and program evaluation. She has over 25 years of professional experience in the social services field, managing multiple programs dedicated to improving the plight of children and families. Pamela serves on the board for Kennedy King Memorial Initiative and other various committees focusing on disparities in multiple sectors. She is a 2019 Tobias Fellow and vice chair for Indiana Blacks in Philanthropy, an affiliate of Indiana Philanthropy Alliance. She frequently provides presentations, serves on panels of discussion and partners with many organizations delving into issues of race, equity and inclusiveness.

She is a native of Indianapolis but throughout her life, she has lived in other places such as Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston and Iowa. Pam has also traveled to multiple countries in Africa, including an internship in Tunisia for the African Development Bank.

Pamela has a great passion for making a difference in the lives of people often left behind. Above many things, she values her family and living a purposeful life.


September 22, 2020 @ 10:00 am
September 30, 2020 @ 12:00 pm
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Kari McCann Boutell