Since 1917, United Way of Central Iowa has united individuals, businesses, nonprofits, elected officials, and more to foster a thriving community through strategic focus on the 5 Elements of a Thriving Community:United-to-Thrive-Puzzle-outlined

This strategic imperative is called UNITED to THRIVE, and it represents the principles and strategies under which we organize our work and measure our impact. This unique model was developed thanks to a year-long effort in 2020 to gather input and feedback from across our community.



Improve Lives By Uniting The Caring Power of Community

This is the compass by which we conduct all of our work, and the goal we strive to achieve.



Engage Community to Empower All

United Way envisions a community where all individuals and families have the opportunity to thrive through the five elements of a thriving community.



Community Engagement
Striving for Excellence

Focus on Equity

At the center of the UNITED to THRIVE model is Equity, because the only way our community can thrive is if every central Iowa has the same opportunity to thrive. Equity is inherent in our work, as significant disparities exist in our community and our society. By overtly focusing on Equity issues across all five elements of a thriving community, we ensure that our work is designed to ensure equitable access in every area of our work.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

United Way of Central Iowa strives to be a model of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work. We seek to represent and advocate for the many people who proudly make up our community and we value and promote inclusiveness in all aspects of our work. The organization employs and promotes individuals, recruits volunteers, and partners with programs that inclusively support the diversity of our local community.

In all levels of staff and governance, United Way of Central Iowa is dedicated to greater diversity within the organization and to providing equal opportunity to people, without regard to race, religion, skin color, gender, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental abilities, genetic information, pregnancy, disability, age, family or marital status, veteran status and socio-economic status or other characteristics protected by applicable law.

We believe that each United Way of Central Iowa community member, donor, volunteer, advocate, and employee must have equal access to addressing community issues. We recognize that we have the role, responsibility, and opportunity to partner across organizations throughout the community to close equity gaps.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of what it means to LIVE UNITED.


Focus on Central Iowa

United Way of Central Iowa focuses on three counties in Iowa: Polk, Dallas, and Warren. Our funding, strategies, collaborations, and partnerships are almost exclusively based within that territory.

We are an independent 501(c)3 organization based in Des Moines, Iowa, and regulated by our local Board of Directors. As a member of the United Way network, our organization is one of more than 1,000 local United Ways across the United States. 

United Way of Central Iowa is located North of downtown Des Moines on 9th street in the United Way Human Services Campus. This United Way-owned office complex, in addition to being our home, provides offices to several human services nonprofit agencies, as well as a conference center for events.

home.png  1111 9th Street, Suite #100, Des Moines IA 50314

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Focus on Integrity & Stability


United Way of Central Iowa has earned a four-out-of-four-star rating each year since 2004 from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent evaluator of charities and nonprofit organizations. Charity Navigator’s four-star rating recognizes United Way’s sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Less than 1 percent of the thousands of charities evaluated that have achieved four-stars for ten years in a row or more.

To see the complete report by Charity Navigator, please visit the Charity Navigator Page:

See Charity Navigator Report




Maria Volante

United Way of Central Iowa Board Chair

“ Our volunteer leaders all share a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of Central Iowans in the areas of education, income and health.  It truly is a privilege to be involved with United Way and to serve people in our community."

Meet our Board of Directors & Cabinets

Mary Sellers Circle 1

Mary Sellers



"We are proud to serve central Iowa, and strive every day to make it a better community for all. Our team of dedicated professionals bring expertise from many areas." 

Meet The Team  Join The Team