Dalal named new Foundation director


The Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation has named Heidi Dalal as the new executive director. She will take over for Karn Gregoire who retires at the end of May. Dalal, 39, will begin her new duties on June 1.

“Since its inception, the Foundation has served as a leader for the community that Martha-Ellen dearly loved,” Foundation Board President Matt Fisher said. “Collectively with other community partners, the Foundation has set its focus to help Marshalltown prosper and grow. Based on Heidi’s years with the Foundation, the Board has witnessed strength in her leadership and look forward to supporting her as she serves this important role.”

The board knew about Gregoire’s upcoming retirement for a year and began discussions with Dalal for her to take over.

“They had an exciting opportunity for me that I was happy to accept,” she said. “It has been a pleasure to serve and work in this community. I am honored and grateful for the board’s support and excited to start in June.”

Witnessing Gregoire’s dedication to Marshalltown has been an inspiration for Dalal, and she learned a lot from her predecessor.

“I think I will be able to work with the partners in the community to accomplish the variety of goals we have to look forward to,” Dalal said.

Dalal joined the nonprofit organization in 2006 and has served as the program manager and the manager of community and grantee relations. She supported Gregoire in strategic leadership, strategy development, communications and day-to-day management of operations.

To fill the position Dalal is leaving, the Foundation is hiring for a new program manager, of which there is a full job description on the website, marthaellentyefoundation.org.

Dalal’s path to executive director started in Illinois where she worked on obtaining a masters degree in art history. Originally from Algona, she knew she wanted to return to central Iowa. Dalal applied and was hired as an adjunct instructor at Marshalltown Community College.

“I taught art application before I was hired as a program manager for the Foundation,” she said.

With the Foundation’s strong ties to the arts in Marshalltown, it was a natural fit. After all, the Community Playhouse bears Martha-Ellen’s name and the organization helped start the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance.

Through her ties to the Foundation, Dalal has also gotten the opportunity to serve Marshalltown in a variety of ways — through the Community Foundation of Marshall County, the YMCA and YWCA, the 13th Street District and the Arts & Culture Alliance.

With her role as executive director, it is not likely her involvement with such organizations will lessen. She will work with, and has already worked with, the Rebuild Marshalltown Fund and STEP (Students Teaching & Empowering Philanthropy) program with the Community Foundation of Marshall County, the Marshalltown Public Art Committee and Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance, and National Endowment for the Arts Placemaking plan for the River’s Edge Trail and Iowa Great Places with the City of Marshalltown.

Dalal would like to see the younger residents of Marshall County learn even more about philanthropy through the STEP program. Normally, students involved in the program have up to $10,000 to donate to nonprofits in the area, ones that submit grant requests. However, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they only have $9,000 to work with.

“Students seek out things needed in the community and then find solutions to address those needs,” Dalal said. “Even though there is a slight change in this year’s amount, students are still finding solutions.”

She will continue to fulfill her current duties as the smooth transition to executive director begins. For example, a STEP meeting for students to review the grant applications was held Monday night.

Dalal and her husband, Neil, have one daughter, Avnie.


Contact Lana Bradstream

at 641-753-6611 or



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