Sue Hafkemeyer will be the next president and CEO of the Quad Cities Community Foundation, effective June 1, 2022.

Joining the Community Foundation from the MercyOne Dubuque Foundation, Hafkemeyer brings decades of nonprofit leadership experience, a track record of fundraising success, and a passion for collaboration, according to a QC Community Foundation release.

“The board and staff extend a warm welcome to the new leader of our storied organization,” said Randy Moore, board chairperson and interim president and CEO. “With her diverse background in philanthropy, her strong relationship-building skills, and her vision for community transformation, we’re confident in Sue’s ability to lead the way in opening the Community Foundation’s next big chapter.”

Sue Hafkemeyer starts as new CEO of Quad Cities Community Foundation on June 1 (photo: Quad Cities Community Foundation).

“I couldn’t be more excited to join and lead an organization that has accomplished so much and that has so much potential for the future,” said Hafkemeyer. “I’m looking forward to working together with the Community Foundation’s team—and with donors and nonprofits across the Quad Cities and beyond—to see where that potential can take us.”

She succeeds former Community Foundation chief Sherry Ristau, who stepped down in August 2021, after seven years at the helm.

“I am deeply grateful for all the relationships and opportunities this community has provided me since arriving in the Quad Cities,” Ristau said last summer. “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.”

The power of collaboration

Hafkemeyer’s broad base of experience has instilled in her the power of collaboration and how strategic partnerships can leverage growth in a community. “We can do more together,” she said. “I value being a strong partner who comes to the table ready for discussion, who helps generate innovative ideas, and who acts as a resource. And I like to have fun doing it.”

Over the last five years as executive director of the MercyOne Dubuque Foundation, which provides philanthropic support to MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center, Hafkemeyer raised more than $8 million to support MercyOne programs and developed and implemented the foundation’s first planned giving program, among other achievements.

Before that, she led communication and marketing efforts for nearly a decade at Loras College. As director of the Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, she partnered with other leaders in spearheading a $188 million riverfront revitalization, wrote grants and proposals totaling more than $50 million, and increased the annual operating budget from $300,000 to more than $1.1 million. She currently serves as board chair of United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States.

Hafkemeyer meeting Community Foundation staff members.

Hafkemeyer sees an opportunity for the Community Foundation to continue developing its capacity as a connector and knowledge broker to advance the region in equity and inclusion and nurture diverse young leaders. “Equity is an essential part of community development, and I believe the Community Foundation has a key role to play,” she said.

Creating vibrant community

“To create a vibrant community of change for diversity, equity, and inclusion, we have to identify, educate, and mentor students and young professionals of diverse backgrounds,” she continued. “Who are tomorrow’s leaders, and how can we develop them? These are questions the Community Foundation has already recognized as important. We want young leaders to see, in their own community, that there’s opportunity right here.”

Find out about the Quad Cities Community Foundation at qccommunityfoundation.org.

Hafkemeyer is inspired by the example of her family.

Her daughter, who helped lead a program similar to the Community Foundation’s Teens for Tomorrow program as a student intern, has served on multiple nonprofit boards, including an upcoming term chairing the Foundation for Dubuque Public Schools.

With her husband, John, Hafkemeyer is looking forward to taking advantage of the Quad Cities’ many amenities and building new relationships in the area. “We just love getting to know people,” she said. “Everybody’s been so friendly—it’s easy to see that this is a welcoming community.”

“Getting to know Sue has been a true pleasure, and we’re excited for everyone else to do so, too,” said Jean Moran, board member and search committee chair. “As we close our national search, we thank the many wonderfully qualified candidates we’ve had the privilege to meet. It’s amazing to see that there are so many talented leaders out there committed to seeing communities flourish.”