In the middle of a pandemic, Sean Raisch, real estate, finance, transactional and construction attorney, completed the elite Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Community Leadership Program.
The program brings together 50 of Des Moines’ emerging leaders for an in-depth look at the problems and opportunities facing our community. The cohort first gathered in August 2019 for a retreat, getting to know each other and the program. Each month, the group gathered for a workshop diving into aspects of life in central Iowa - mental health, natural resources, housing, crime and recidivism, and education, among others. At Blank Park Zoo, Camp Dodge, Iowa Correctional Facility for Women, and local businesses, among other things, the group learned about underrepresentation and what happens when people don’t have the support of a community around them. About his experience, Sean says, “The Community Leadership Program made me a more effective leader and galvanized me to become a more active member of the greater Des Moines community.”
The Community Leadership Program also focuses on providing direct assistance to local non-profits. The group of 50 is divided into five groups that then work side-by-side with a non-profit that has requested assistance to help solve a thorny problem they are facing.
Sean signed up to help Children’s Garden, a non-profit childcare center in Des Moines, as they worked to refocus their organization. Sean and his team conducted numerous interviews with Children’s Garden board members, parents, and staff to pinpoint Children’s Garden’s needs. After determining Children’s Garden’s needs, the group engaged a consultant to lead the Children’s Garden leadership and staff in a workshop to develop new mission, vision, and values statements and a strategic plan to guide the organization.
Volunteering his legal services, Sean assisted with drafting a new board manual for the Children’s Garden Board and other documents the organization needed. Additionally, Sean drafted grant applications for Children’s Garden to obtain some much-needed funding. When the world was turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sean quickly pivoted by advising Children’s Garden with regard to PPP funds.
“As a working dad myself, I know how important quality childcare is to ensure bright futures for our kids. Knowing that 50% of the kids served by Children’s Garden receive tuition assistance, I wanted to help this organization in formulating a solid future so they can continue to provide this service to the community.”
Although the team’s work was shifted due to the pandemic and their project was not completed in time for the GDMLI Graduation on May 13, the group will continue to advise Children’s Garden as they finalize their strategic plan.
Davis Brown is proud to support the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute in honor of named partner, A. Arthur Davis, who founded the program in the early 1980s. Although we were not able to come together this year and celebrate the 2020 graduates and award the six Leadership Institute Alumni awards, we honor the achievements of the graduates and the impact they have made on the community through their non-profit partnerships. Des Moines is assured of a bright future knowing these 50 individuals have completed this program and now are more connected to the diversity of our community.