Jason NeisesCommunity Development Officer
Jason has spent most of his career in adult education and working with non-profits like Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Peace Corps. While in the Peace Corps, he lived in Niger, West Africa. “The people there were incredibly impoverished by standards of the developed world, but they were the most kind, generous people I've ever encountered. They shared their food, homes, work, language, and culture with me without hesitation. I learned a lot from them about being gracious, patient, and grateful. We need to make the best of the gifts we're given and not always look to others to be ‘saved.’”
In his work at the Community Foundation, Jason uses asset-based planning processes like Community Heart & Soul® to help community leaders in rural towns increase participation in local decision-making and empower residents to shape the future of their communities in a way that upholds the unique character of each place. He is inspired by the innovative ideas and energy people have about strengthening their towns and improving quality of life in rural areas. Jason is a skilled facilitator and has recently expanded this skillset to include graphic facilitation, visually illustrating the big ideas from group thinking in real time.
Outside the office, Jason volunteers with Cub Scouts, Heritage Works, Winter Farmers Market and the Dubuque Museum of Art. He’s been married to Erin since 2003; they have two sons, Frank and Louis. He is a member of an urban sketching group in Dubuque that meets outdoors to draw buildings and landscapes using pencils and watercolors.
Q. Describe your favorite meal.
A. A "Deluxe" Marco's pizza with spicy sausage. The thin crust, the sauce, the homemade sausage...nothing beats it.