Wendy Ingham
Wendy Ingham

Age 39   |  Annual fund coordinator, Youth Homes of Mid-America

When community leaders describe Wendy Ingham, they use adjectives such as optimistic, encouraging, tireless and instrumental. For the past year, Ingham has worked as the annual fund coordinator for Youth Homes of Mid-America, which in 2010 raised more than $229,000, a 15 percent increase from the previous year.

Ingham has the right personality and volunteer background to help the organization expand its reach in Greater Des Moines’ philanthropic community, said Bob “Mac” MacKenzie, Youth Homes’ director of development.

“As a busy mother of three active children, Wendy has been able to balance her family obligations and our need for someone who can interact with volunteers, initiate new program concepts and provide the intelligence necessary to instill positive feelings for the mission,” MacKenzie wrote in a nomination letter.

Ingham also volunteers with the Junior League of Des Moines as community vice president and has served as co-president of the Western Hills Elementary School PTA. She received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communications from the University of Iowa in 1993. Before her current job, she worked as a special education teacher’s assistant.

“Now I feel I’m really impacting kids that are in similar situations,” she said of her present position. “A lot of times it’s just kids who were just in bad family situations, just had a bad deck of cards dealt to them.”

Ingham’s leadership while serving as the Junior League’s membership recruitment chair helped the organization reverse a decline in membership and increase its numbers by nearly 50 percent. “Wendy employed creative outreach techniques to attract women from many walks of life,” wrote Lynn Knudsen, the organization’s president. “Her energy and enthusiasm were very contagious.”

Ingham has chaired numerous Junior League projects, including construction of a new playground for the South Central YMCA.

Ingham and her husband, John, enjoy cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes and attending school events and sports activities of their three children: Savannah, 14; Hunter, 12; and Jackson, 9.