Going Places. Here at Home: Jared Funk

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Jared Funk

Committee involvement helps bank VP meet new people 

This is one in a series of articles highlighting the latest generation of innovators making a difference in our communities.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


“I know them. We went to different schools together,” Jared Funk’s dad is fond of saying. 


It’s a statement that has special meaning for the 37-year old Funk. The MFL MarMac graduate remembers growing up in a small town, in a small school atmosphere, getting to know his classmates as well as students from the nearby small towns and small schools. 


It’s a statement that emphasizes what Funk values and why, despite the random assortment of places he’s lived, including Sheffield, Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha. But he found his way to Elkader, where his parents grew up and where his wife Ariell is from. 


Elkader is the type of place the couple wants to raise their two daughters, Daisy and Dahlia, where they’ll have opportunities that would not be possible in larger schools and cities, like getting to know everyone, playing a sport rather than sit on the bench and having grandparents that all live within 15 miles. It’s a perk traditionally associated with small-town life. 


Another perk is the opportunity to be involved and make an impact. Funk has taken full advantage, running successfully for school board in 2021, signing up for the Elkader Golf and Country Club Board in 2020, becoming a member of the Elkader Childcare and Learning Center Board this year and serving as a volunteer on the Elkader Economic Vitality Committee. 


“It seems like, in Elkader, there is an opportunity to volunteer around every corner and each has their own contribution back to the community,” Funk said. 


Each board Funk has chosen to serve or participate on allows him to make an impact on the community he lives in. 


He chose to run for school board because his kids are students at Central and he wanted to represent them and their friends. It also gives him the chance to be a “voice for the community.” 


The golf course board has been rewarding for Funk on a personal level.   


“I am proud to be part of an organization that provides recreation to the community and to the businesses in the community. As businesses attract employees, I feel having recreation in a town would be important to new recruits/community members.  This board also allows me to have a positive impact on the course, which is something that my score never allows,” Funk said. 


When it comes to the daycare board, where Funk serves as vice president, it shares similarities with the school board in that his kids attend the daycare and he wants to continue to have a place for them to grow. This position has opened Funk’s “eyes to the daycare industry as a whole and the struggles that most daycares are facing.”


“We want to continue to provide an affordable and safe place for families in our community to take their kids,” Funk said. 


As for volunteering with the Economic Vitality Committee, Funk noted how important it is to him. 


“I want to see our community of Elkader continue to grow.  We have a great variety of businesses and keeping that in place will continue to make Elkader a destination spot,” he said. 


“In all these service opportunities, I am given an opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to my family and I,” Funk added.


Funk has also participated in the daycare fundraisers during youth soccer and worked with the golf course board on its fundraiser to update the reception hall area and the deck project. He’s brainstormed ways to improve Elkader through economic vitality. 


One of the ways Funk gives back on each of these boards is through his understanding of finances. It’s a byproduct of his education, being a double major in finance and real estate while attending the University of Northern Iowa, as well as his current position as vice president of ag commercial loans at Fidelity Bank and Trust. His financial knowledge comes in handy given the fact most boards operate on small budgets and, as Funk stated, “sometimes it takes a different perspective to get things moving in the right direction.”


“I think the positive change on any board comes from the people involved on the board. Different backgrounds from all board members creates many different viewpoints and opinions. The best I can do to contribute is to have an open mind and to not be afraid to share my opinion,” Funk said. 


When he isn’t attending board meetings, volunteering or giving financial advice, Funk’s attention turns to his hobby of collecting old coins and currency, which he turned into a side business in early 2022 when he started Northeast Iowa Coin and Currency. 


While one might assume Funk has an easy time finding coins working at a bank, he joked that nothing could be “further from the truth,” since he doesn’t deal directly with the cash and the bank already has an agreement with another collector who gets first dibs. But Funk is a good sport about it. 


The business has gone better than expected, and more importantly, it’s given Funk reasons to interact with people in the community he might not have known. 


Funk made a similar observation about volunteering, stating, “I have been able to meet so many people who I normally wouldn’t have crossed paths with [and] I have created some good friendships with people through volunteering.” 


Looking ahead, Funk will continue to be active on the boards he currently serves, while focusing on improving the community. With the involvement of others in the community, he believes “Clayton County can only get better in the future.”

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