The Waukee Leadership Institute is an organization founded by Mayor Bill Peard and Larry Lyon back in 2006. Each year, the institute provides leadership development through training, networking, mentoring, and roundtable discussions in order to develop community leaders.

Past classes have consisted of people ranging from large publicly traded companies to small businesses and even those in city government. Classes are geared for individuals who are looking to become more involved throughout the local community and incorporate an annual project to help raise funds to support a local cause.

As part of the program, the 2019 Waukee Leadership Institute class has chosen the Waukee Community Closet located just off of Carefree Lane for their upcoming project. This nonprofit organization works to distribute both clothing and bedding to children, students and families throughout the community.

“As a group, we selected the Waukee Community Closet as their need and purpose really stood out to us,” 2019 Class Member and Waukee Public Works Director Rudy Koester said.

The class’s goal is to raise enough money to purchase a delivery van for the organization’s transportation needs. This van will aid the community closet in reaching more Dallas County residents along with provide greater accessibility to the families, children, and students who are served by the organization.

The class hopes to raise $25,000 to support the community closet’s needs and is working to raise money through local fundraising events.

“We felt our fundraising [would be] both meaningful and highly impactful to their cause and operations,” Koester said.

As part of their fundraising efforts, this past weekend the class partnered with the Waukee police and fire departments in a chili cook-off. The cook-off was open to policemen, firemen, and the public to enter their best chili recipes for participants to sample. Those sampling the chili voted for their favorite recipes with free will donations.

This year’s winner was Waukee Fire Chief Clint Robinson with a three bean chunky chili with a cinnamon kicker.

“This is the second year for the cook-off all in good fun. The Waukee fire and police take any opportunity to promote bringing community organizations together such as the Leadership Institute,” Robinson said.

The Waukee Public Safety Chili Cook-Off took place March 31 at the Waukee public safety building and raised about $1,600.

Coming up, the 2019 Waukee Leadership Institute Class also plans to host a golf event at the Broheim’s Indoor Golf and Pub on April 25th. They have also partnered with Echo’s Bakery for the month of April where a portion of Easter Baskets sold will be donated to their project.