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Quad Cities Community Foundation president and CEO to step down at the end of August

Sherry Ristau.
Sherry Ristau.(KWQC/Quad Cities Community Foundation)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 7:27 PM CDT
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(KWQC) - After seven years leading the Quad Cities Community Foundation, president and CEO Sherry Ristau will step down at the end of August.

“I am deeply grateful for all the relationships and opportunities this community has provided me since arriving in the Quad Cities,” Ristau said in a media release. “With the board of directors, we have spent the last seven years in pursuit of a new mission to transform the region through the generosity of donors, and I believe wholeheartedly that we have moved the organization to meet that mission for the benefit of our community. Now is the time to welcome an even greater transformational leader into our work.”

In an email to TV6, Ristau said, “It’s important to me to move on at the height of our success over the last seven years.”

“It is a great opportunity for our community,” she said. “I will be developing my own company focused on facilitating and helping leaders build confidence, courage, and connections to conquer their unique challenges for personal and professional success.”

A nationwide search will begin immediately for the next president and CEO, according to the release.

The search will be led by Randy Moore, chairperson of the board of directors, and the board, which is made up of community members from the bi-state region.

Until a successor is named, Moore will be interim president and CEO.

“Sherry has hired and led a high-performing team of professionals who love their work, love their community, and are quite frankly, whip-smart. We are positioned so well to take this work to the next level,” Moore said in the release. “I’m looking forward to working more closely with the team in the months ahead.”

Randy Moore.
Randy Moore.(KWQC/Quad Cities Community Foundation)

Read the full media release:

After seven years leading the Quad Cities Community Foundation, President and CEO Sherry Ristau will step down from her position at the end of August to make way for further organizational—and regional—transformation.

“I am deeply grateful for all the relationships and opportunities this community has provided me since arriving in the Quad Cities,” said Ristau. “With the board of directors, we have spent the last seven years in pursuit of a new mission to transform the region through the generosity of donors, and I believe wholeheartedly that we have moved the organization to meet that mission for the benefit of our community. Now is the time to welcome an even greater transformational leader into our work.”

A nationwide search will begin immediately for the next president and CEO of the Community Foundation. The search will be led by Randy Moore, chairperson of the board of directors, and the board, which is made up of community members from the bi-state region.

Until a successor is named, Moore will support the Community Foundation’s vice presidents and staff as president and CEO. “Sherry has hired and led a high-performing team of professionals who love their work, love their community, and are quite frankly, whip-smart. We are positioned so well to take this work to the next level,” Moore said. “I’m looking forward to working more closely with the team in the months ahead.”

Moore first served on the board of directors from 2011-2012, and then rejoined in 2014 because he saw in Ristau—and in the Community Foundation—a leader doing the work necessary to power philanthropy in the Quad Cities region. “Under Sherry’s thoughtful leadership, the Community Foundation has grown in donor contributions, grants awarded out into the community, and regional reputation and awareness,” he added.

When she arrived at the Community Foundation in September 2014, Ristau took the time to listen to the needs and wishes of the community. Alongside the board of directors, she guided the organization through transformational change, including a renaming and rebranding from the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend to the Quad Cities Community Foundation. The change ushered in a new chapter for the now 57-year-old organization, amplifying the community’s awareness and understanding of its work serving a regional community.

Charitable assets have also grown over the past seven years, from $112 million to $182.5 million. A new investment strategy, guided by local professionals, has cut investment expenses, allowing the organization to grant more dollars back into the community annually.

In addition, the Community Foundation began awarding Transformation Grants each year—awards of $100,000 or more that support solutions-based efforts to make the region a more equitable place to live, work and play. “Transformational ideas deserve transformational support, and this is one of the things I am perhaps most proud of,” Ristau said. To date, more than $1 million in Transformation Grants have been awarded.

Ristau’s work also happened behind the scenes, as she partnered with staff and board members to institute organizational enhancements—from a technology conversion that puts time-sensitive financial information into the hands of donors to building a board of directors that is representative of the community today.

Over the past two years, Ristau and her team also anticipated—and launched—back-to-back Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Funds to support recovery from the historic Mississippi River flood of 2019 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The community-wide efforts led to more than $2 million in support raised and granted out to support relief and recovery efforts.

“I’m very proud of all that has been accomplished,” Ristau admitted. “What I hope our staff and board—and our donors, volunteers, and community—know is that these are not my accomplishments. They are all of ours. Our work isn’t possible without this community. And I know that this organization will continue to flourish as it ensures that generosity always lives here in the Quad Cities region.”

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