Culver, a Democrat, served four years as Iowa’s governor, from January of 2007 through January of 2011. Since then he’s been working as a consultant in the energy industry and for a group lobbying to get rid of the Electoral College. In July, Culver will become president of the Greater Des Moines YMCA. Culver’s primary job: fundraising.
“I’m really honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of central Iowa,” Culver told Radio Iowa. “…We have 100,000 individuals that are engaged with the Y in some way through our camps, our aquatic fitness programs, aerobics — all of the great programming that we offer at our at our eight Y facilities.”
Culver, who is 50 years old, is currently a member of the Walnut Creek YMCA in Windsor Heights. He described himself as a “life-long” Y member.
“I went to the Y as a kid. I went to the Y camp outside of Cedar Rapids…I’ve volunteered to coach, as a basketball coach at the Y,” Culver said. “…I couldn’t be more passionate about the Y’s mission, the YMCA values and I want to give the opportunities that I had as a young person to Iowans and kids in central Iowa and hopefully they can get the same kind of benefit that I did from that experience.”
Culver’s being hired after previous directors were unable to complete the new downtown Des Moines YMCA facility. That Y moved from a previous location on the west bank of the Des Moines River to a building a few blocks away that used to be a convention center. The facility has opened, but the expensive swimming pool and aquatic center planned at the site haven’t been built.
The former leader of the Greater Des Moines YMCA resigned recently after failing to secure money for the project. Culver said that pool is “obviously” a top priority, but all the facilities and YMCA programs in central Iowa will get his attention.
“I look forward to putting together a strategic plan with the leadership team at the Y and coming up with a short-term and a long-term plan to address the needs,” Culver said.
Culver also will focus on policy, as the central Iowa YMCAs have programs which promote literacy as well as physical fitness for kids.
“The YMCA is the sixth most successful non-profit in the world. There are YMCAs in 119 countries, so we have an ability to really help improve the quality of life not just with our facilities and our programs, but also by engaging on important social issues and important public policy issues, to solve problems,” Culver told Radio Iowa. “I’m really looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting involved in some of those important issues, too.”
Another man was hired last month to serve as CEO of the Greater Des Moines YMCA.
Culver’s 78-year-old mother still teaches water aerobics at several YMCA locations in the Austin, Texas area.