Passing the Baton

As Sherri Hunt retires as executive director of the Jones County Community Foundation, incoming leader Doug Edel prepares to build on the work she has overseen.

After five years of overseeing tremendous growth and impact, Sherri Hunt is retiring as Jones County Community Foundation executive director, and founding board member Doug Edel has been hired to succeed her and continue on with the Foundation's good work.

“The Community Foundation is happy and excited to have Doug Edel as our newly hired executive director. His association with the Foundation and the large volunteer role he has played in his local community provides him with the experience to do well in this new role,” said Rosalie Ahrendsen, Foundation vice-chair. 

Outgoing director Sherri Hunt has served the board for five years. “With Sherri’s leadership, the Foundation has grown in our ability to help nonprofits in Jones County. Her connection with nonprofits and her willingness to share what she learns about Jones County’s needs have allowed our board to assist with those community challenges,” said Ahrendsen. “We appreciate her service. She will be missed.” 

The Foundation is focused on strengthening communities and improving quality of life in Jones County. “The board understands that supporting children is a community initiative and not just a goal for our schools and health care providers,” Hunt said. “Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, and removing barriers to such opportunities is something we all should be concerned about.”

Hunt’s passion for equipping youth succeed — and grow to become engaged community members as adults — has helped advance the Foundation’s goals by supporting children through initiatives like Vision To Learn, a nonprofit that provides vision screenings and glasses at no cost to families, and Every Child Reads.

“Third-grade reading proficiency levels were brought to the board’s attention, so we created a literacy fund to support the Every Child Reads initiative and explore what can be done for the 33% of children not meeting this critical milestone,” she said. 

Hand-in-hand with new partnerships built over the past five years, the Foundation has grown from $1.4 million in assets to $2.8 million, adding eight new funds along the way. 

In 2013, the Foundation affiliated with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque — which provides many benefits. “I want to credit Sherri and Amy Manternach, chief operating officer in Dubuque, for all the growth the Foundation has generated since affiliating with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque,” says Edel. “We have a depth and breadth of connections throughout the county that we didn't have before,” 

Edel comes to his new role from a career at Fidelity Bank & Trust in Anamosa. He has served on the Foundation board for a total of 16 years, and is especially proud of the board’s support for the development of Jones County Central Park. “One of the first grants we awarded was to buy canoes people can rent at the park,” he recalls. 

The park has improved dramatically over the years, including renovations to the Nature Center, restoration of the lake, and, most recently, installation of a Story Walk trail supported by the Foundation’s Every Child Reads initiative. “The park is one of the highlights for Jones County and will be a place for learning, recreation and relaxation for generations to come,” says Edel. 

Looking to the future, Edel has set his sights on the big picture — the Foundation making a substantial, positive impact in Jones County, forever. “My hope is to grow the Jones County Permanent Endowment Fund by building connections with community members who are looking for a way to provide resources for future generations,” he says. “Estate planning, gifts of stock, and individual retirement account rollover contributions are all ways that the Foundation is positioned to help people make the most effective use of their donations and trust that the proceeds will be there permanently to improve future quality life in Jones County. I look forward to being a part of that effort.”