Iowa PBS Foundation Board names new president

Rob Hilbert to replace Susan Moritz Scharnberg on September 28, 2020

Rob HilbertThe Iowa PBS Foundation Board of Directors today announced that following an extensive national search the board voted to accept the Executive Transition Committee recommendation to promote from within for their next president. Chair Cathie Whiteside said the Foundation’s Vice President Rob Hilbert was the clear and unanimous choice to lead the Foundation in its strategic fundraising mission.

“Rob's accomplishments in his chosen field and at the Foundation, along with his creativity, problem solving skills, thirst for knowledge and drive to achieve were core factors in our decision,” said Whiteside as she notified stakeholders and Foundation and network staff of the hire. “Rob has worked tirelessly and creatively to secure transformational gifts for the Iowa PBS Foundation. He has built nurturing and enduring personal relationships across the state and across the industry which uniquely positions him to not just sustain but grow the Foundation’s future success.”

Hilbert replaces Susan Moritz Scharnberg, who announced her retirement earlier this summer after leading the Foundation for 19 years. To ensure a smooth and strategic transition, Hilbert will assume his new role on September 28 with Scharnberg providing executive counsel until her retirement on October 8. Hilbert will serve the Board of 22 Directors and lead the Foundation staff of 17.

“Rob is not only a tremendous fundraiser, he understands and loves the mission of Iowa PBS,” said Executive Director and General Manager of the network Molly Phillips. “He is highly respected and trusted across the PBS and philanthropic communities. He continually brings people together to work towards a common goal. I am excited for our future as we work together for the mutual benefit of our organizations and for the people of Iowa.”

Hilbert joined the Foundation team in 2002 as major and planned gifts officer. He was promoted to vice president in 2014. He was named the National PBS Development Professional of the Year in 2019. During his tenure, he has secured and closed some of the largest gifts in Iowa PBS Foundation history.

“I’m fortunate to be a part of such a magnificent institution. We have a dedicated team, a thoughtful board and kind and caring donors and members. I’m excited to lead the team that helps make this vital public service sustainable well into the future,” said Hilbert. “Fundraising work is, of course, about money. But at its core, it is about so much more. It is about working together and building relationships to help make an imperfect world a little better.”

Originally from Waterloo, Iowa, Hilbert graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Public Relations with an emphasis in Leadership Studies. He earned his Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation in 2002. He went on to pursue his International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising and graduated with distinction in 2015. Hilbert has served on the boards of directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Central Iowa Chapter; Mid-Iowa Planned Giving Council, where he also served as president; National PBS Development Advisory Committee (DAC), where he also served as chair; and LEAVE A LEGACY Iowa. He has presented on fundraising, change management, philanthropic psychology and nonprofit management at many local, regional and national conferences and association meetings.

Hilbert resides in Urbandale, Iowa, with his wife and two daughters. Active in his community, Hilbert currently serves as chair of the Urbandale Public Art Committee and has volunteered for numerous organizations over the years.

To direct questions, schedule an interview or request a photo, please contact Susan Ramsey at or 515.725.9703.


About the Iowa PBS Foundation:

The Foundation is a separate, nonprofit, fundraising entity that aims to foster giving to Iowa PBS to support programming and local production. Over 55,000 households in Iowa and the surrounding states donate annually to the Foundation in support of Iowa PBS.