DMU announces 2017 Glanton honorees, presenting sponsor

Kim and Rich Willis
Rich and Kim Willis

When Des Moines University hosts its 14th annual Glanton Dinner on Oct. 5, it again will honor local leaders as part of the celebration. This year’s honorees are Kim and Rich Willis.

Presented this year by UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, the dinner raises funds for the University’s Glanton Fund, which supports scholarships for minority students, under-represented in health care, and multicultural initiatives for all students. The dinner also is a celebration of community, as it attracts hundreds of corporate, nonprofit and civic leaders and supporters.

“We are so grateful that Rich and Kim have been generous supporters of DMU’s Glanton Dinner and the Glanton Fund for more than a decade,” says University President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D. “That’s just one of numerous ways they serve and enrich our community. Their impact is far-ranging and inspiring. We’re also very grateful to UnityPoint Health-Des Moines for being our presenting sponsor this year.”

UnityPointHealthDesMoines UnityPoint Health-Des Moines serves patients in more than 50 clinics, Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Iowa Lutheran Hospital, Blank Children’s Hospital, Methodist West Hospital and John Stoddard Cancer Center as well as with its home health care services, UnityPoint at Home.

“We are proud to sponsor this year’s Glanton Dinner and to show our support of honorees Rich and Kim Willis,” says Eric Crowell, President and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines. “Des Moines University and the Glanton Fund have been leaders in celebrating diversity and inclusion, not only in the field of health care, but within our community as well.”

The Willises built their careers in business – she in banking; he in the automobile business – but they also share an ardent drive to serve others. Both have been engaged in numerous charities, boards and activities. They are:

•    co-chairs of the 2017 United Way of Central Iowa Campaign
•    co-chairs of the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts Governor’s Luncheon in 2016
•    co-chairs of the United Way of Tocqueville Society Initiative in 2013 and 2014
•    volunteers at Central Iowa Shelter and Services and co-chairs of the organization’s Heroes for the Homeless event for two years.

In addition, Kim has been involved in charities including Hospice of Central Iowa, Visiting Nurse Services and the Des Moines Community Foundation Finance Committee. She is a member of the ChildServe Board of Trustees and the Solheim Cup Committee, helping to recruit companies to support the Ladies Professional Golf Association event in Des Moines in 2017. She also volunteers with Children and Family Urban Ministries meals at Immanuel United Methodist Church as well as with other organizations in Des Moines.

“Our motivation in community service was fueled by watching our parents being so involved in volunteer work,” she says. “We also realize we’re both very blessed. We want to share that with others.”

Rich has served on many community boards, including those of Simpson College, Blank Children’s Hospital, UnityPoint Health Des Moines, John Stoddard Cancer Center, the Principal Charity Classic and Boys and Girls Club. He is president of the Willis Auto Campus, which has been a sponsor of the Civic Center’s Broadway Series for the past 12 years and an annual supporter of the National Kidney Foundation.

A native of Smyrna, Delaware, Rich began working for Betts Cadillac in Des Moines when he was a student at Simpson College. After graduating, he joined the business, where he helped expand its automobile franchises. In 2000, he completed his buy-out of the dealership, which now sells and services Lexus, Mini, Volvo, Jaguar, Infiniti, Cadillac and Land Rover vehicles.

Kim grew up in West Des Moines, graduated from the University of Iowa and then launched a 20-year career in banking in Chicago. She later returned to central Iowa and worked for Bankers Trust for three years. When not volunteering or working, the Willises enjoy spending time with family and friends.

“Des Moines University is important in the education it provides, the students it attracts and the service they provide to the community,” Kim says. “We’re excited and humbled to be part of this year’s Glanton Dinner.”

The Glanton Fund is named in honor of Willie Stevenson Glanton and the late Luther T. Glanton Jr., both lawyers and civic leaders in central Iowa. For more information on the fund and the 2017 Glanton Dinner, visit the website, call 515-271-1463 or email

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