Elisabeth Kissling: 2013 Forty Under 40 Honoree

Elisabeth Kissling


Elisabeth Kissling

Marketing Director

Foundation 2

Age: 35


Elisabeth Kissling knows first-hand how challenging it can be to overcome a traumatic event, which is precisely why she has dedicated her career and volunteer endeavors to “helping others who have gone through something traumatic in their lives.”

While she was a student at Coe College, Ms. Kissling was involved in a serious car crash. Her personal journey to recuperate physically and emotionally spurred her interest in the field of psychology. As she recovered from the accident and was wheel chair-bound, she was inspired to “push through” with a full load of college courses, ultimately graduating from Coe College in three years with bachelor of arts degrees in music, psychology and philosophy. Ms. Kissling also graduated with a master’s of counseling degree from the University of Iowa in 2001.

Ms. Kissling’s personal experience led her to seek a career and service efforts that help others who may be facing similar situations or barriers to recovery. Today, she leads the marketing and fundraising efforts at Foundation 2, a non-profit agency that provides a 24-hour crisis hotline, youth shelter, independent living options for youth, individual and family counseling, support groups, outreach programs and after-hours food pantry.

Ms. Kissling’s volunteer endeavors are also focused on helping youth and animals. She serves as a “lunch buddy” for Big Brothers Big Sisters and is a foster dog mom and volunteer with the Animal Welfare Foundation of Iowa. Ms. Kissling is president of the Leaders in Volunteerism, a member of the Linn County Suicide Prevention Coalition and is an advisory board member for the Marion Arts Festival.

Anna Behning, who nominated Ms. Kissling, worked with the Foundation 2 marketing director while completing a project for her MBA class at Mount Mercy University.

“Elisabeth shows patience and love for those in crisis in our community, through providing a homeless dog a place to stay, writing a grant to support someone with a recent brain tumor diagnosis, assisting an art student to set up at her first show and by having lunch twice a month with a young person needing a mentor,” Ms. Behning stated in her nomination of Ms. Kissling.


-Molly Altorfer