Foundation Leaders


    Professor James A. Albert has been a Professor of Law for 43 years. He is nationally recognized and has won many awards, including being named Professor of the Year eight times at the Drake University Law School. He was named Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity’s Outstanding Law Professor of the Nation four times. He has written several books, appeared on many national television programs including the “Today Show,” and appeared as himself in a Cinemax movie about one of his clients. Professor Albert has traveled to Belize more than 30 times to manage hands-on and in-country the foundation's scholarship program, construction projects, and to meet with leaders of that country, school officials, and many hundreds of people themselves in their villages and towns. He is a trial lawyer, a 1976 graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, and the grandfather of 18-year-old twins.


    Kale Van Bruggen is an attorney with Rinke Noonan Law Firm in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Kale has a regional practice in the upper Midwest, where he represents farmers, watershed districts, and counties on regulatory compliance and litigation matters. He graduated from North Dakota State University in 2009 and Drake University Law School in 2012. While in Law School at Drake, Kale started and led the first two Belize Dance Marathons that attracted 1,000 Drake students. He has been a leader of the Foundation since its inception. Kale has traveled to Belize dozens of times to meet with our scholars and teachers, emailing interviews and photos back to donors in America in real time.


    Joseph B. Saluri is Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board at BlueAllele Corporation. BlueAllele is a company committed to advancing the quality and precision of gene editing systems for patients with genetic diseases. Joseph has over 25 years’ experience in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries as an executive, director, and entrepreneur. Joseph previously served as Vice President of Business Development and Chief Legal Officer for Stine Seed Company, a biotechnology and genetics company. At Stine he was responsible for all legal matters, acquisitions, licensing, and collaborations. Joseph holds a B.S.B.A. in investment finance from Drake University and a J.D. from Drake University Law School.


    Patrick Waldron is a trial lawyer and partner in the Patterson Law Firm in Des Moines. He graduated, with honors, from the Drake University Law School in 1995. Pat specializes in the areas of civil litigation and workers' compensation, and mediates cases for other attorneys throughout the state. He is a top-rated lawyer by US News and World Report, Best Lawyers and Martindale Hubbell. He is the proud father of four. Pat leads the juggernaut of Drake Law graduates and Iowa attorneys who have been the lawyer champions for thousands of children in Belize.


    Hon. Joel W. Barrows is an Iowa District Court Judge located in Davenport. Judge Barrows graduated from the Drake University Law School in 1989 and earned his LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, with honors, in 1993. Joel's father, David Barrows, a Clinton County entrepreneur, retired to Belize in the 1980s. Judge Barrows spent much of his youth in Belize, traveling to that country nearly 40 times and traversing its width and breadth with his father.


    Nick Shaull is a founding partner of Spaulding & Shaull Law Firm in Des Moines. Nick attended Drake University Law School, where he took Torts, Advanced Torts, and Administrative Law with Professor Albert. Through their classroom work, Nick got to know Professor Albert, a relationship which continued and grew after Nick graduated from Drake Law in 2009. It was through this relationship that Nick initially became involved in and inspired by the work being done by Professor Albert and the Books for Belize Foundation. What started with attending the Foundation’s auction in year-one, gradually developed into more activity each year: helping secure donations and advertising; attending monthly meetings to plan for the Foundation’s annual event; and eventually becoming a member of the board ten years later. Each year’s participation grew with the passion of helping more and more children attend school—an opportunity otherwise unafforded—and thereby, helping them reach dreams that were previously unimaginable. Thus, the passion and reward of the Foundation’s work.


    Ms. Kennedy is a graduate of Texas Christian University and Drake University Law School, She is an active member of the Iowa Bar as well as a published author, and past board member for the National Association for Fixed Annuities.

    Danette is a proven fixed index annuity (FIA) industry veteran with a well-rounded background leading teams in compliance, sales training, product Ideation, strategic sales initiatives, and legal for the industry’s leading insurance carriers. Her experience also includes working for a top independent marketing organization (IMO), as well as running her own IMO. Danette has served as the director of a US based diversity program, and as general counsel to a national financial service distribution company, where she also created the industry’s first women’s mentoring agent network. She has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry and holds a rich and diverse range of talent.

    Danette and her children we first traveled to Belize in 2015 and fell in love with the country’s rich culture and wonderful people. As a member of the Foundation’s Board she is committed to growing our Foundation's impact and sustainability.


    Jeff Lamberti is a founding partner of Lamberti, Gocke & Luetje Law Firm in Ankeny, Iowa, a businessman, and one of Iowa's leading citizens. Jeff graduated from Drake University with a B.A., an M.B.A., and his law degree. He practices business law, real estate law, and estate planning. He served ten years in the Iowa Legislature, including as President of the Iowa Senate. He served as Chairman of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. He led Iowans in raising millions of dollars to restore the World War II battleship, USS Iowa, which is now moored in Long Beach, California, and is a national treasure. Jeff and his wife Linda have traveled to Belize numerous times with Jim to manage in-country the foundation's programs. 


    Linda Lamberti is a pioneering entrepreneur who founded Westown Salon and Spa 35 years ago, and built it into a leading Des Moines business. Linda and her husband Jeff have traveled to Belize numerous times, traveled hundreds of miles on dirt and gravel roads, hiked through mud to visit children in their homes, met with every principal and many teachers, supervised construction projects in-country to make sure donors' money was being spent exactly as it was supposed to be spent, and handed out hundreds of scholarship certificates to students who could never have gone to school without the foundation's help. And, at every stop, Linda has told girls in Belize that with an education, they could do anything a boy could do. More than half of the foundation's scholarships all through the years have gone to girls.

    Paul is a renown California trial lawyer and civic leader.  A U.S. Navy veteran, Paul earned his B.A. from California State University, Fullerton, in 1992 and his law degree, with honors, from the Drake University Law School in 1995. The former President of the Long Beach Bar Association and Chairman of the St. Mary's Medical Center Foundation, Paul is a member of the California State Fullerton Board of Governors, a member of the St. Mary's Catholic Housing Foundation Board of Directors, and a member of the Albert Foundation Board of Directors. 

    Julie is a nationally recognized corporate attorney. Graduating from Iowa State University with honors in 1988, Julie graduated with honors in 1992 from the Drake University Law School. For 27 years, she was a top executive with Casey's General Stores serving over the years as Senior Vice President and Corporate General Counsel. Casey's was a Fortune 400 company then and had 2,100 stores in 16 states. Julie also served as National Chancellor of Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity and as Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Event photo August 22 The 2024 Annual Auction will be at the Tea Room in downtown Des Moines.
Event photo The 2025 Belize Dance Marathon at Theta Chi Fraternity at Drake, March 2025