Fundraising Campaign Kicks Off to Fund Leader in Me

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) – Leader Valley, a talent development initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, is asking businesses, individuals and foundations to join in the efforts to equip every student in the Cedar Valley with tools for effectiveness in life and work.  The Create Great fundraising campaign seeks to raise $7 million for the expansion and sustainability of The Leader in Me throughout the Cedar Valley.

The Create Great Campaign will officially kick off at the Alliance & Chamber’s annual New Teachers Breakfast on Aug. 18 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., at Hilton Garden Inn, Cedar Falls.

“Our ultimate goal is for students to be prepared for career, college and citizenship,” says Dr. Linda Allen, president, Hawkeye Community College. “Our businesses here in the Cedar Valley will no doubt see a difference in these young people as they come to work for them. In order to become principled and effective adults, we must foster both character and competence early in the lives of our students.”

Over $1.8 million has already been raised toward the $3.5 million implementation portion of the overall goal. The aim of the Create Great campaign is to extend The Leader in Me’s impact from 21 Cedar Valley schools to 34. This will include PreK-12 public and private schools in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area. An equal goal of $3.5 million will be raised and placed in an endowment to ensure the sustainability of the initiative for future generations.              

Serving as campaign co-chairs are: Dr. Allen; Dr. Dale Monroe, Chief Administrator, Cedar Valley Catholic Schools; and Tom Penaluna, CEO, CBE Companies. Senator Charles Grassley is the Honorary Campaign Chair.                                               

The Leader in Me aims to fill the gap between traditional school curriculum, and the skills and knowledge employers need in effective employees and organizational leaders. By addressing characteristics and skills such as personal responsibility, accountability, work ethic, teamwork, goal setting, and organization skills, Leader Valley’s investment seeks to enhance the Cedar Valley talent pool and help local businesses become more competitive in the global marketplace.

The campaign kickoff program includes an emphasis on student leadership and empowerment with students serving in leadership roles as emcees, greeters and The Leader in Me booth hosts. Additionally, inspirational comments from business and education leaders will be presented. Current donors to Create Great will also be recognized.

“We are excited to kick off this important fundraising campaign to transform our schools by integrating leadership development and performance into all facets of school cultures in every PreK-12 school in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area,” said Penaluna. “We encourage business leaders and community members to attend our kickoff event and learn why Leader in Me is a critical element for a well-rounded education to develop the workforce our businesses need. If we wish to Create Great in our Cedar Valley schools, we all have a role.”

Tickets for the event are $40 in advance. Ticket price provides breakfast for one individual and a complimentary breakfast for one new teacher. Please register through the Alliance & Chamber website www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by contacting Johanna Kneedler at 319-232-1156 or jkneedler@cedarvalleyalliance.com.  Administrators and new teachers do not need to register, but should make arrangements with their respective districts.

The impact and results of The Leader in Me can be found on the Leader Valley website, www.leadervalley.org, along with videos, testimonials and donor information. The fundraising steering committee for Create Great is: Stacey Bentley, Joyce Coil, Bryan Earnest, Chris Fereday, Ben Jacobson, Bob Justis, Reid Koenig, Shanlee McNally, Dr. Victoria Robinson, Tara Thomas, Amy Wienands and Mike Young.

For more information on the Leader Valley initiative and The Leader in Me, contact Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling 319-232-1156 or by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com. You can also visit www.leadervalley.org.

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Read more by reporter Andrew Wind in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.