Brenda LaBlanc


Brenda LaBlanc

"The ignored and the underserved have a huge voice in Brenda LaBlanc." — Stephen L. Henry, 2005

Brenda LaBlanc, born in Watford, England on April 15, 1928, moved to the east side of Des Moines in 1946 as a war bride. She began her advocacy when she was nearly 40 years old, contesting the City of Des Moines proposal to inspect every home and require repairs. That experience was a defining moment in her life as, with her neighbors, she took steps to address the issues. Later, she and her husband were denied a home mortgage by five banks because their home was located in a low-income neighborhood. As a result LaBlanc began her 30 year mission to ensure that other qualified borrowers were not denied the credit they deserved. She joined Des Moines Citizens for Community Improvement and began using the Community Reinvestment Act to ensure banks met the credit needs of everyone, including those who lived in low-income neighborhoods. She has also advocated on other issues that impact people of modest means such as affordable utility rates and neighborhood drug activity. Because of her leadership skills, LaBlanc was recruited to be co-chair of National Peoples’ Action in 2001, where she helps coordinate a coalition of hundreds of community organizations across the United States. LaBlanc connects people across racial, economic, ethnic, and geographical boundaries and values working together with others to improve the community for all. LaBlanc was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2005.