Building for the Future

December 8, 2022 | New Year's Resolutions for Your Business Kendall Antle, Programs & Engagement Coordinator, ABI Foundation,

For the past 40 years, the ABI Foundation has led the way in delivering dynamic programming to high schools, college students, and working professionals across the state. Its impact is evident, as the number of program alumni, sponsors, and volunteers continues to rise. With Iowa’s workforce serving as a leading example nationwide, it’s indicative of the ABI Foundation’s commitment to building for the future.

In order to better understand “How,” let’s re-examine the “Why.” Leadership Iowa’s inception dates back to 1982. At the time what was considered a far-reaching vision, Leadership Iowa emerged as means to educate and motivate new statewide leaders across all industries. Two years later in 1984, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cited “…high school students do not understand the role of business in a thriving economy…” In response, Business Horizons emerged to develop a foundation for Iowa’s future economic growth. Two decades later during the 2008 Great Recession, it became apparent that an additional program was needed to help bridge the career gap for younger adults. Launching in 2009, Leadership Iowa University emerged to connect our state’s next decision makers with tools for personal and professional success. 

Each program has evolved over the years to continue meeting the needs of the state. Not once in 40 years has an itinerary looked identical. As Iowa’s workforce continues to evolve, so does the makeup of each program’s cohort to ensure it’s both reflective and inclusive. To keep pace with evolution, the ABI Foundation regularly collects feedback from its participants on a wideranging number of topics. Across all programs, participants continually report much stronger understandings of what it takes to own and operate a business, greater awareness of different industries within the state and challenges they encounter, and recognizing Iowa as an ideal place to work and raise a family.

For the past 40 years, the ABI Foundation has been building for the future by investing in Iowa’s greatest asset: its people. For the next 40 years, the ABI Foundation pledges to continue developing community leaders and strengthening Iowa’s workforce. That’s our steadfast resolution to you. 

A special thank you to all alumni, sponsors, and volunteers who have been instrumental to the formation and continued success of the ABI Foundation. We couldn’t provide these programs without your support. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit