Susan Moritz Scharnberg announces her retirement from Iowa PBS Foundation

Iowa PBS Foundation President Susan Moritz Scharnberg has announced plans for her retirement, slated for mid-October 2020. After nearly 40 successful years in the non-profit fundraising sector, nineteen devoted to leading the Iowa PBS Foundation, Scharnberg plans to spend more time with family, traveling, volunteering and enjoying her many hobbies. 

Scharnberg joined the (then named) Iowa Public Television Foundation in 2001 while it was still in its infancy, created by the merger of several fundraising entities. The foundation is a separate, nonprofit, fundraising entity that aims to foster giving to Iowa PBS to support programming and local production.

“Susan immediately began the very long and resulting fruitful process of building a staff of the very best people in the fundraising field,” said Cathie Whiteside, Iowa PBS Foundation Board Chair. “Together with her team, she has built a strong platform of member support and leadership giving, both corporate and individual. We cannot thank Susan enough for her 19 years of dedicated and visionary leadership. She retires with our deepest appreciation for building a highly sustainable foundation that is ranked among the very best in the nation.”

“It is an honor to bring people together with the causes that bring them fulfillment. It is thrilling to see a donor realize the joy of giving,” said Scharnberg, reflecting on her 38 years in the fundraising profession. “Public media has a critical place in our society. I hope our work makes it stronger for the people of Iowa.”

Molly Phillips, Executive Director and General Manager of Iowa PBS, applauded Scharnberg’s contributions to the statewide network’s success. “Susan’s fiscal leadership has helped Iowa PBS to become one of the most prolific public media stations in the country with more than 1,000 broadcast hours devoted to locally produced programs each year. Her notable legacy is a reliable revenue source that has allowed us to create meaningful conversations and helped to build a stronger, more educated and informed Iowa.”

An Executive Transition Committee of the Iowa PBS Foundation Board of Directors has been appointed to select Scharnberg’s successor in the coming months. 

Scharnberg’s professional fundraising career began at the American Lung Association, and transitioned to Wesley Retirement Services before coming to Iowa PBS. A University of Iowa graduate, she earned her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) designation in 1989 and went on to pursue her ACFRE (Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive) designation in 1995. Sharnberg has served locally and nationally with various fundraising organizations and PBS. Active in her community, Scharnberg was elected to four terms on the West Des Moines Community School District Board of Education, serving as president during her tenure. Other community involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Downtown (Des Moines) Rotary, Junior League of Des Moines and Scottish Rite Park. Scharnberg has also been active at Central Presbyterian Church, Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance, P.E.O., Chapter JK, Des Moines Symphony Guild and West Des Moines Development Corporation.  

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