Give Back Iowa Challenge Featured Participant: Spencer Hospital

By: Matt Horihan, Volunteer

Spencer Hospital is not new to the Give Back Iowa Challenge, having received an Honorable Mention for its participation in the Challenge in 2018.  Countless children, families, and community members have been positively impacted by the acts of generosity of Spencer Hospital employees.  Their efforts have enabled hungry families to eat and children to safely enjoy swimming and playing in the sun. Spencer Hospital’s efforts serve as an amazing example for how employers can expand or start their volunteer programs as part of the Challenge in 2019.

Celebrating its fifth year, the Give Back Iowa Challenge lasts eight weeks, from April 1st through May 31st each year. In 2018, more than 83,000 hours were completed by 56 employers in Iowa.  The annual Challenge was created to engage Iowans in employer-supported volunteering.  Employer-supported volunteering helps businesses with their bottom lines by strengthening employee engagement, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and employee retention.

Many of the employees of Spencer Hospital have always valued volunteering with many nonprofits, clubs, and organizations.  Given many of its employees work differing shifts, Spencer Hospital utilized the Challenge as a way to expand its volunteer program via a multi-pronged approach.

It capitalized on the volunteer efforts the employees were already involved in by asking them to report their current hours. Next the Hospital built further partnerships within its community and utilized already scheduled volunteer events in its region, allowing Spencer Hospital’s employees to support the events while simultaneously serving as an easy way for its employees to volunteer.

A couple of these partnerships included two veterans groups.  Spencer Hospital publicized ongoing events with those groups through publishing flyers encouraging Spencer Hospital employees to place flags in two cemeteries to honor veterans.  A Spencer Hospital employee managed the registration effort.

Last year, Spencer Hospital also showed its devotion to philanthropy and leadership building, working with its local food pantry, Upper Des Moines Opportunity, and its local YMCA to provide the members of the community with many items of necessity.  Spencer Hospital organized this community effort via its Human Resources Department, where employees were encouraged to grab empty “kits” and to shop for the contents to fill them.  The categories included kid nutrition kits, hygiene kits, swim kits, homeless kits, chili kits, and sun kits.  These were then distributed to organizations and people throughout the area.

Spencer Hospital showed its innovation by enabling its employees to volunteer in multiple ways. In addition to receiving honorable mention in last year’s Challenge, staff have enjoyed giving back, and the community has benefited from the volunteering.


Registration for the Give Back Iowa Challenge is open through the end of the Challenge on May 31st.   Volunteer hour entries are due by June 3rd. More information about the Give Back Iowa Challenge can be found at

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