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Person of the Year: Clarinda Foundation thrives under Herzberg

Person of the Year: Clarinda Foundation thrives under Herzberg

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HJ - Person of the Year Pam Herzberg

Clarinda Foundation Executive Director Pam Herzberg and her husband, Jon, center, speak with Scott and Nancy Brown during an open house held in her honor during the week of Dec. 14. Herzberg retiredfrom the position after nine years of service with the Clarinda Foundation. During that time the organization saw substantial growth in its grant and scholarship programs. ( Photo provided)

During the nine years Pam Herzberg has served with the Clarinda Foundation, the local charitable organization has seen substantial growth in the amount of grants and scholarships it awards each year. At the same time, the Clarinda Foundation has emerged as an important partner in many community improvement projects.

Herzberg has retired from her duties as Executive Director of the Clarinda Foundation. Her final day in the office was Dec. 17. In recognition of her service, the Clarinda Herald-Journal is pleased to announce Herzberg as our 2020 Person of the Year.

“Pam is a wonderful asset to our community. She has done a great job and we love her. We are all going to miss her and wish her the best of luck,” Clarinda Foundation Board of Directors president Bobbie Jo Allbaugh said.

“She has set a pretty high target for anybody that follows her. It’s been my pleasure to work with her, that’s for sure. I think everybody I’ve spoken to on the board would be in agreement with that,” Clarinda Foundation Board of Directors vice president Scott Brown said.

Herzberg joined the Clarinda Foundation in March 2012 as the administrative manager under Executive Director John Woolson. When Woolson announced his retirement later that year, Herzberg was named the new Executive Director and started her duties Jan. 1, 2013.

During her tenure, the Clarinda Foundation provided more than $800,000 in grants to Clarinda and the surrounding community. The Foundation has also awarded more than $435,000 in scholarships to local students over that time.

“The Clarinda Foundation, under Pam’s leadership, has been a catalyst in making a significant difference in young people’s lives by providing scholarship opportunities and positively impacting the Clarinda community,” Clarinda Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Elaine Farwell said.

Last year, Brown said the Clarinda Foundation awarded 35 scholarships totaling $80,000. Brown said she has followed that up by developing three new scholarships this year.

‘The high school scholarships require a fair amount of effort as far as collecting the applications and making sure the awarding entities get those applications. It takes a tremendous amount of work and she does a great job with that,” Brown said.

Besides her work with the scholarship program, Allbaugh said Herzberg showed her concern for the seniors at Clarinda High School this year. Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the May graduation ceremony to be delays, a plan was developed to have a recognition event for the seniors where family, friends and members of the community could drive by the high school and congratulate the members of the Class of 2020.

Allbaugh said Herzberg came up with an idea to have posters of each senior made that they could display as the vehicles drove by during the recognition parade.

“Pam always came to the table with wonderful ideas,” Allbaugh said. “She also has a knack of being in the know for all the fundraising activities going on in Clarinda and sharing that with the board so we can make informed decisions.”

“She works collaboratively with the city, the Chamber of Commerce, Clarinda Youth Corporation and Clarinda Economic Development Corporation to understand projects they are involved in,” Brown said.“Pam is usually the one that has her ear to the ground. If something is going on in Clarinda she knows about it.”

As a result, the Clarinda Foundation has played an instrumental part in numerous community projected that have benefited Clarinda as a whole. At the same time, Herzberg has been directly involved with many of those same projects.

Herzberg served as the chairperson of the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce Downtown Revitalization Committee that assisted in securing matching funds for a Community Development Block Grant for the downtown facade project. The facade project was completed in the fall of 2019 and involved 12 building owners who had 18 facades transformed through the project.

“She also helped quite a bit with the development of the green space at the northwest corner of the square on North 16th Street and the green space under construction on the east side of the square,” Brown said.

Herzberg also served on the Clarinda Healthy Hometown Initiative Committee. She was selected as the champion, or leader, of a committee project to develop a Walking School Bus program. The objective of the program was to create routes in each quadrant of Clarinda to assist students on their way to school. The routes would offer various stops where children could meet a chaperone who would accompany them to an actual bus stop or to school so they do not have to walk alone.

In addition, Herzberg has served on the Cruzin’ Clarinda planning committee. The car show has become an annual summer attraction for Clarinda.

Under Herzberg’s leadership, the Clarinda Foundation also teamed up with Bank Iowa, Cornerstone Bank and PCSB this year to establish a COVID relief program to assist local entities struggling during the pandemic.

“Her dedication to community betterment work has shown that with careful thought and planning, successful projects abound. She always has the best interest of the Clarinda community at heart,” Farwell said.

“It is truly a blessing to have Pam in our community. She loves Clarinda,” Allbaugh said.

Beckie Finch has been selected to succeed Herzberg as the new Executive Director of the Clarinda Foundation.

“Pam will truly be missed at the Foundation with her wonderful ideas, organization and leadership. He has a natural talent for this kind of work, but we are fortunate to have Beckie on board. She has shadowed Pam all year and will be a great addition,” Allbaugh said.

“I can’t picture Pam sitting at home all day even though she is quote ‘retiring.’ She will still be involved on a limited basis,” Brown said.

“On behalf of the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce, it certainly has been an honor working with Pam and we wish her only the best in retirement. The Chamber organization has appreciated her tremendous support over the years,” Farwell said.

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