Nancy Van Milligen has been president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque since the Foundation opened its doors in 2003. In that time, she has established the Foundation as a trailblazer in fostering strong, equitable rural communities, drawing the support of generous local donors and funders across the nation. Through her direction, the Foundation has grown to support over 300 nonprofit partners and 4,000 donors, granting out more than $60 million to area nonprofits since inception.
As the Community Foundation’s leader, Nancy works daily on her passion – inclusive communities that support and nurture families. She brings together the energies and resources of nonprofits, businesses and community volunteers to help increase awareness of the importance of giving back to the community and building connections that are critical to solving societal problems.
Nancy is most proud of the systems change work tackling complex issues that communities are facing, such as children’s literacy, brain health, racial equity and college access. She is inspired by her team and the progress being made toward a high performing community: for high school graduates, kids gaining access to glasses or learning to read, or people having resources like training and job opportunities.
While rooted in Dubuque, Nancy extends her leadership to national organizations focused on rural community development. In addition to serving on the Rural Schools Collaborative’s Board of Directors, she represents the Foundation on the Coalition for Inclusive Communities and New Profit’s Rural, Small Towns & Indigenous (RSTI) Cohort; and the Aspen Institute’s Thrive Rural Theory of Change Working Group. She also is involved in the D5 coalition, a national initiative focused on growing diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy. She has previously served as chair of the Funders Network for Smart Growth, a member of on the Council on Foundations Public Policy Committee, and president of the Iowa Council on Foundations.
Nancy earned a master’s degree in public administration from Southern Illinois University and received the SIU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006. Nancy and her husband Mike have five children, 16 grandchildren, and were foster parents to 24 children. She enjoys reading, kayaking, swimming, and boating.