Mission & Board

Our Mission

The mission of the Iowa Parks Foundation is to strengthen the connection between Iowans and their parks by creating innovative partnerships and making strategic grants that transform Iowa’s parks while improving Iowans’ health and quality of life.

Why Invest in Iowa’s Parks?

Because-Direct Experiences in the Natural World are Vital to the Physical and Mental Health of Every Iowan of Every Generation.

What is the IPF Board’s Vision?

As we approach the 2020 centennial of the founding of the Iowa Parks System, our work will benefit all Iowans and will result inHealthier Iowans, a Healthier Environment and Healthier Communities.

While park use is at an all-time high, our parks have become virtually self-service and we are challenged to restore historic structures while repairing or replacing many outdated facilities. We are making great strides to begin the transformation of our parks and to strengthen the interpretive educational offerings available to visitors. We need your help to accomplish this important work.

  • Establish a sustainable philanthropic organization designed to assemble public and private assets which will be used to transform Iowa park lands.
  • This will be accomplished by strengthening local constituencies, making strategic grants, restoring park infrastructure, building facilities and financing interpretative programs in order to elevate the parks to world-class status by the year 2020.


Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and former Congressman Neal Smith founded the IPF in 2008.

Board of Directors

The Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that includes many notable Iowans from every corner of the state.

  • Joe Gunderson, President
  • Paul Kruse, Vice President
  • Mark Ackelson, Secretary
  • Burch LaPrade, Treasurer
  • Brad Anderson
  • Mark Doll
  • Wes Ehrecke
  • Peter Hosch
  • David Johnson
  • Onnalee Kelley
  • Bob Riley
  • Laura West
  • Sally Ortgies
  • Brian Lammers
  • Michelle Franks
  • Nic Hockenberry
  • Hans Klein-Hewett

Special Advisors:

  • Todd Coffelt
  • Kristine Maggard
  • Jay Gorsh
  • Rob Liesland
  • Dave Heiar
  • Matt Cosgrove