Volunteer Leader: Kathy Mueller

Board Member, Clayton County Foundation for the Future

  • Hometown: Luana
  • Career: President & CEO, FreedomBank
  • Board member since: 2020


Tell us about yourself! 

I grew up on a dairy farm near Luana and graduated from M-F-L High School in 1981. My career in banking started immediately after graduation when I took a teller position at Union State Bank in Monona; USB has since merged into the current FreedomBank. As a non-traditional student, I later completed degrees in Leadership, Management, and Corporate Finance from Upper Iowa University, as well as completing the curriculum for the Graduate School of Banking in Colorado. My husband, Steve, and I live south of Elkader. Our grown children are Jess (Jed) Dean, Greg (Shannon) Mueller, and Becky (Steven) Gilmore. We have nine grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 15. We love the outdoors and entertaining family and friends at our vacation home in northwestern Wisconsin.   


Why did you start serving the Foundation board, and what inspires you to keep serving? 

Having worked for many years with previous board members and donors (LeRoy & Colleen Darby, Keith Garms, J. P. Zapf, and Jim Moritz), I knew that CCFF serves the entire county in numerous ways. I thought becoming engaged in CCFF would be a great way to learn about things that are happening in our neighboring communities. What works well for our neighbors is likely to work well for us, too!  

 The goal of CCFF is to build relationships that strengthen our communities individually and collectively. It is such a blessing to live and work in northeast Iowa. I enjoy serving because of the great leadership within our group and the shared values of the board members.  


What’s the most memorable grant awarded or impact made by the Foundation during your tenure?  

Being part of the grant award process is very rewarding because the recipient organizations serve all ages and a variety of needs, including healthcare, education, recreation, and community betterment. This year I helped start the Main Street Elkader Endowment, which will have a positive perpetual effect on the Elkader community. I look forward to watching this endowment grow. My other favorite grants are those that are awarded to or for students. The enthusiasm of the student and educator accepting this year’s grant for Clayton County BEST’s new drone was a great reminder that even $1,000 can make a big difference in the community.