Foundation welcomes Benzing, Johnson, Snitker to advisory board


The Allamakee County Community Foundation is pleased to welcome Leah Benzing, Jim Johnson and Lisa Snitker to its advisory board. The new members reside in Harpers Ferry, Waterville and Waukon, respectively. 

This spring, three long-time board members retired from service: Pat Cota, Sheryl Evanson and Jarod Olson. The three represented 28 years of combined service to the organization.

“Pat Cota inspired me to become a member of the Foundation board,” says Benzing. “I’m looking forward to learning more about each community within the county, building relationships with our community members, learning about the visions of each group and what they are working on in their community. 

Benzing has lived in Harpers Ferry with her family for 30 years, and in that time has volunteered with the Harpers Ferry Rescue Squad EMT, Waterville Parents for Progress, Allamakee Athletic Board and as Harpers Ferry Little League Manager. She also worked for over 20 years in city government.   

Benzing, her husband, Bruce, and their four sons enjoy spending time on the river and at their farm. Her hobbies include biking, kayaking, gardening and quilting. 

“As a board member, I am eager to learn about and support the different projects, programs and other adventures that our community members bring forward,” she says. 

Jim Johnson, a Waukon native, lives near Waterville with his wife, Jane, a lifelong resident of that community. He holds a B.B.A. in finance and banking, and is a U.S. Marine veteran. 

Johnson recently retired from nearly two decades of work as a federal employee, including over 15 years as an auditor with the U.S. Deptartment of Health and Human Services’s Office of the Inspector General. 

Johnson has a wealth of experiences that will inform his new role on the Foundation board. In addition to his work as an auditor, he spent time doing private sector finance work in health care. He volunteers as a bookkeeper for his local church and as a Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) volunteer with Veterans Memorial Hospital. 

“I am inspired to join the Foundation board because I want to give back to the community by helping to better our county’s quality of life and well-being,” he says. “I look forward to working with a diverse group of county residents and helping impact future projects that will benefit our communities.”

Lisa Snitker works for the Allamakee Community School District, teaching library skills to students in preschool through fifth grade. She manages all three district libraries and collaborates with teachers to incorporate research skills and credible resources into middle and high school classes. 

Through her work, Snitker is involved with many committees in the school district as well as the Area Education Agency. She’s a teacher mentor for new staff, the treasurer for the Allamakee Community Education Association, a grant reader for the RJ McElroy Trust, a member of the Keystone AEA Advisory Committee, and a member of the Iowa and National Library Association. She was also a recipient of the Laura Bush Fellowship while earning her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa.

Snitker and her husband, Ted, live north of Waukon. Ted is the physical education instructor for Waukon Middle/High School, and coaches football and boys track. The couple have three successful adult children who all live in Minnesota. The family enjoys playing sports, spending time on the river and doing other outdoor activities together. Snitker looks forward to being a member of the Foundation board and getting to know the board members.

“Our new board members have a great level of knowledge developed through their combined educational and professional experiences. They are committed community members and possess a vast understanding of wide-ranging community needs,” says Brent Beyer, Foundation board chair. “We are thrilled to welcome them and leverage their knowledge in our efforts to improve quality of life in Allamakee County.”

The Allamakee County Community Foundation offers many opportunities to improve quality of life by addressing an array of local issues. To learn more about how you can establish a fund or make a gift that impacts your community, contact Foundation Coordinator Betty Steege at 563-586-2046