CommUnity welcomes our new Director of External Relations, Michelle Guthart Cole, MA, CNP. With over 25 years working in the nonprofit sector, Michelle has extensive experience in many areas, including:
- Fundraising & Donor Development
- Grant Writing & Coordination
- Volunteer Management
- Organizational Development & Strategic Resource Management
- Public Relations
- Community Collaborations
- Event Coordination
- Project Management
Most recently, Michelle was the Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Horizons, A Family Service Alliance where she led an 85 member team and oversaw Human Resources, Client Services, Marketing, Development and Volunteer Coordination.
Some of Michelle’s professional accomplishments include being the former Race Director for the Especially For You® Race Against Breast Cancer. Under her leadership this community event grew from attracting 10,000 registrants to over 15,500 annually generating a net attainment of more than $3.1 million through this event in less than eight years. However, she admits, this work was not done alone. She led a steering committee of 64 community volunteers with 21 subcommittees which enlisted more than 354 volunteers contributing over 3,250 hours to organize and successfully implement the event annually. Michelle worked in various roles at Mercy Medical Center for 11 years including Grants and Oncology Outreach Coordinator positions. Highlights of Michelle’s fundraising career also include assisting in raising the funds to renovate the former Penny Saver Building into the Sister Mary Lawrence Community Center which is home to local nonprofits displaced from the 2008 flood. She also assisted with the capital campaign to build the current home for Horizon’s – A Family Service Alliance. Michelle is an inductee to the Millionaire Club and former faculty member of the Staff Academy for the American Cancer Society. She has additional nonprofit experience through her work with the Marion Chamber of Commerce.
Michelle believes in civic engagement and has actively supported the community through her efforts as a member of varying organizations, including Rotary International, the Cultural Diversity Education Committee at Kirkwood Community College, the Community Cancer Survivors Celebration Committee, the Environmental Concerns and Community Wellness Committees at Mercy Medical Center. Michelle holds board positions with Iowa Breast Cancer Action Foundation and Friends of Czech Village. Michelle was also honored as one of the 2016 Woman of the Year Recipients from the Women’s Equality Day Coalition of Linn County. She was also recognized as Rotarian of the Year from the Marion East Cedar Rapids Rotary.
As an Iowa native, Michelle grew up in Waterloo. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1992 and moved with her family to Cedar Rapids in 1993. Education has always been extremely important to Michelle. This is evident in her teaching experience as an Adjunct Instructor at Kirkwood Community College. Recently, Michelle returned to her alma mater to receive her Masters in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development. She has also earned her credentials as a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. CNP is the only national credential that combines critical skills and knowledge with demonstrated competencies with practical experience in the nonprofit sector.
We are excited about the experience that Michelle will bring to the Communications and Development team. Please join us in officially welcoming Michelle to CommUnity!