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Principal Financial Group named Spirit of Central Iowa Awardee



For exemplifying the true spirit of what it means to LIVE UNITED, United Way of Central Iowa has honored The Principal Financial Group with the 2014 Spirit of Central Iowa Award. The honor was presented at the April 22 LIVE UNITED luncheon.

The prestigious Spirit of Central Iowa Award is United Way's highest honor, presented to one outstanding organization each year for excellence in all three categories of Give, Advocate and Volunteer. By choosing United Way as its partner in bringing its corporate social responsibility mission to life, the Principal Financial Group makes a powerful and lasting impact.

The Principal was selected by a panel of volunteer judges, who commented on their company-wide commitment to philanthropy, advocacy and volunteer service as core business principles. Among the Principal’s achievements leading to the award:

  • In the 2013 United Way campaign, employees of the Principal, matched by the Principal Financial Group Foundation, contributed more than $5.1 million to United Way of Central Iowa; 66 percent of their employees participated in their corporate campaign.
  • Over 800 Principal employees gave $1,000 or more, 134 of which were new this year, and 80 Tocqueville Society members gave $10,000 or more. Also, 126 staff joined United Way Education Leadership Initiative members and 112 joined Women’s Leadership Connection.
  • Principal staff hold key United Way volunteer leadership roles, including Board Chair, Advocacy Chair and Women’s Leadership Connection Advocacy Chair.
  • Approximately 3,800 employees logged almost 26,000 hours of volunteer time off.


The Principal launched a new Ambassador program in 2013—hoping to increase already strong United Way engagement. Ambassadors received development opportunities, internal company recognition and other special opportunities in exchange for a vow to increase their pledge annually, use all 8 hours of their volunteer time off and tell others about United Way. More than 700 employees participated.

In addition to The Principal, two individuals and nine central Iowa organizations were honored with LIVE UNITED recognitions:


Advocate Award: Scott Burgmeyer

Burgmeyer’s advocacy work was instrumental in the Iowa General Assembly’s funding a $5.5 million appropriation to help job seekers obtain high school equivalency diplomas, English-as-a-Second-Language training and basic workplace skills. His efforts will benefit an estimated 30,000 Iowans.

Burgmeyer, an employee of Bridgestone-Firestone in Des Moines, was nominated by Central Iowa Works, who commented, “Scott is an articulate spokesman for Central Iowa Works and one we turn to frequently to describe for legislators and policy makers the value of demand-driven job training to increase economic competitiveness and address critical workforce needs. As an employer in a key Iowa industry sector, he provided credibility to the cause of increased funding for workforce training.

Volunteer Award: Lynn Graves

Lynn Graves, a retired Principal Financial Group executive, has been a skilled volunteer for over 30 years. She is a founding member of the United Way of Central Iowa Women Leadership Connection (WLC), which makes a positive difference in the lives of thousands of children and teachers each year. As a volunteer fundraiser for WLC, she is credited with helping raise millions of dollars to transform the quality of early learning centers for central Iowa’s youngest children. She also is a volunteer reader for young children and provides hands-on help remodeling early learning centers in our community’s lowest-income neighborhoods.

Graves also volunteered for the United Way of Central Iowa Income Cabinet, Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates management team, the Blood Center of Iowa, Broadlawns Hospital, BRAVO, Young Women’s Resource Center, and the I Have a Dream Foundation., the American Heart Association, Mercy College and the Des Moines Playhouse. She was co-founder of “Maddie’s Circle,” which provides match dollars and training to up-and-coming philanthropists.

United Way of Central Iowa also honored nine organizations with LIVE UNITED recognitions, in the categories of GIVE, ADVOCATE and VOLUNTEER.


  • Fewer than 200 Employees: KPMG
  • 200-799 Employees: HCI Care Services
  • 800+ Employees: CDS Global


  • Fewer than 200 Employees: Central Iowa ACEs Steering Committee
  • 200-799 Employees: Des Moines Register Media
  • 800+ Employees: Polk County


  • Fewer than 200 Employees Delta Dental
  • 200-799 Employees: ING (now VOYA Financial)
  • 800+ Employees: Wellmark


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