Volunteer Leaders: Brenda Gannon

Vice President, LincolnWay Community Foundation 

  • Born in: Welton
  • Education: B.A. from Marycrest College, M.S. from Northern Illinois University
  • Career: Marketing 
  • Board member since: Early 2021


Tell us about yourself!

As the saying goes, you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I live in Dewitt with my husband, Harry, but grew up on a family farm west of Welton and will always consider that my hometown. During the farm crisis years, my husband and I reluctantly moved away to find work. After living in Dallas and Chicago for 28 years, in 2013 we decided it was time to come home. We have 3 children; Ryan in Chicago, Maggie in Nashville, Mackenzie in Baltimore; and a granddaughter, Nora. In addition to spending time with family and friends, I enjoy biking, reading, traveling, cooking and interior design. 

Why did you start serving on the Foundation board? 

Volunteering is as natural as breathing in a small town. As soon as I returned home, I asked Pat Henricksen if she could help me figure out how to give back. She suggested the Community Foundation's marketing committee, and I’m so glad she did!  It’s been the perfect way to make a real difference in the lives of people in the place I love. 


What inspires you to keep serving?

Now that I’m home to stay, I am dedicated to being a champion for small-town living and spreading the message to young people that this is a lifestyle choice worth making. I want to do what I can to make sure that anyone who chooses to live in rural Iowa will find attractive, thriving and interesting communities where they can work and raise their families. And that is exactly what the Foundation does. 

I’m constantly inspired by the can-do spirit of so many individuals and organizations working in rural Clinton County. If there’s a need, people will respond. It’s hard to overstate how rare this is, and what a special community we live in.

Growing up in a farm community that lived through a catastrophic house explosion, I know that local first responders mean the difference between life and death. It’s been gratifying to support the volunteer fire departments throughout rural Clinton County. I’m grateful to our donors, who make it possible to support our emergency service providers with grants.