-Volunteer Iowa Year in Review-

2015 was a Mix of Classics and Firsts!

  1. Classic: Let’s start with January 2015! It was National Mentoring Month and the Iowa Mentoring Partnership honored 5 amazing mentors in our Excellence in Mentoring Awards Ceremony:
    • Keith Bress of Spencer -Tiger Mentoring Program,
    • Tom Cameron of Des Moines – Community Youth Concepts Mentoring Advantage Program
    • Carol Groen of Sac City – Sac County Mentoring
    • Sloane Morrow of Storm Lake – Storm Lake TeamMates
    •  Chris Storms of Muscatine – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muscatine County.
  2. First! In order to encourage employers to promote volunteering among their employees, a stellar Employee Volunteer Advisory Committee developed the Give Back Iowa Challenge. Companies across the state were challenged to have the highest average number of volunteer hours per employee over six weeks. In its inaugural year, the Challenge had 50 participating employers whose employees volunteered 41,702 hours. The winning companies in three size categories (Worldly Goods, Ames; West Music Company, Coralville; and Central College, Pella) each received a visit from the Governor or LT. Governor, further recognizing their achievements and incentivizing their continued support of volunteerism. Save the date for 2016! The Give Back Iowa Challenge will be from April 1- May 31, 2016.
  1. Classic: Like the Oscars for volunteers, we hosted our annual Volunteer Hall of Fame ceremony in April during National Volunteer Week and inducted 4 new honorees:
    • Ida Johnson, Davenport – Individual Category (one person providing outstanding volunteer service to benefit others)
    • D. “Ike” Leighty, Waterloo – also in the Individual Category
    • Children & Family Urban Movement (CFUM), Des Moines – Organization/Nonprofit Category (not-for-profit organization providing voluntary service to others)
    • Sisters of Mercy, Cedar Rapids – Group Category (several unrelated individuals volunteering together as a unit)
  1. First!: Hosted the first CNCS AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team training event in Iowa, we had over 15 AmeriCorps programs represented from over 15 states and over 40 attendees.
  2. Classic: Iowa Nonprofit Summit in November with more than 340 attendees and 2 amazing keynote speakers: Vicki Clark and David Dye, along with a great slate of volunteer presenters who conducted nearly 50 workshops!
  1. (This one’s a mix) Classic/First! Awarded 21 AmeriCorps State grants for the 2015-2016 program year, including one of the first Operation AmeriCorps grants in Bloomfield, IA.
  2. (This is a mix too) Classic/First! We were said to say goodbye to Rachel Bruns but happy to welcome Tiffany Jacob as our new Communications and Engagement Program Officer.
  1. Classic: The Volunteer Iowa portal continues to be a busy spot as the statewide system for volunteers and organizations to connect. By using this system, potential volunteers can look for volunteer opportunities, events, or their favorite agencies. In 2015, we had over 2,000 opportunities!
  1. First!: Facilitated and participated in our first Seeing Impact Project Evaluation Process with 6 AmeriCorps programs and us as a commission…and now we are published with a book of our findings!
  1. Classic: Through the What’s Your 50 Campaign we highlighted a volunteer each week who answered the Governor’s call to service and volunteered 50+ hours in 2015.


Happy New Year all! We’re looking forward to more classics and firsts in 2016!

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