The Proffitts have
focused on community service since earning their degrees at Park.
Russell Proffitt is a 1955 alumnus with a degree in sociology and
political science. Connie Koning Proffitt earned a bachelor’s degree in
1954 in religious education with a minor in science.
In Iowa, Connie
has helped train more than 200 volunteers for the Right to Read program.
She was a full-time volunteer for a year in the food distribution
program of the Emergency Needs Survival Committee for Linn County, Iowa.
In that volunteer position she organized a warehouse, trained
volunteers, ordered and distributed food to 20 sites and kept all the
necessary records. She helped start the East Central Iowa Chapter of the
Alzheimer’s Association and was on the first board of directors. She
also served as president for the local chapter for two years and was
elected to the National Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors.
She and Russell
co-chair the Regional Planned Giving Committee for the Heritage Area
Agency on Aging. Their goal is to establish the Older Iowan’s Fund as an
endowment to help fund programs for the elderly in Iowa. Under their
leadership, the Older Iowan’s Fund has raised close to $1 million in
less than three years.
other activities, he wrote and developed grants for federal and state
funding totaling in the millions of dollars. He helped start Iowa’s only
black-owned light manufacturing corporation, Oakhill Engineering. He
helped organize the Literacy Volunteer Program in Cedar Rapids. He
supervised staff directors of six anti-poverty programs, including Head
Start and Neighborhood Centers.
with the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in establishing a
Geriatric Mobile Dental Unit for nursing homes. He initiated the system
of Assessment and Case Management of frail elderly in Linn County, Iowa,
with 14 agencies. He helped develop the East Central Iowa Alzheimer’s
He assisted eight
communities in developing senior centers. He chaired a capital funds
drive in Lisbon and raised $57,000 for the S.E. Linn Community Center.
College, Russell graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a
Master of Divinity. Connie taught school during this time. Russell then
served churches in Poughkeepsie and Fredonia, N.Y. While in Mayville,
N.Y., they became very involved in “right to read” programs.
Russell and Connie
have four children and are members of the Howard Bailey McAfee Heritage
Society at Park.