Each year United Way of Central Iowa works with legislators, communities, programs, and leaders across the state to advocate for public policies that align with our Goals for 2020 in Education, Income, and Health.

In the 2017 Iowa legislative session, United Way successfully advanced key components of our advocacy agenda in service of these goals, including expanding opportunities for adults to earn their high school equivalency diploma and allowing preschools more flexibility and autonomy to use their funding to best meet children's needs. 

In the next legislative session and the years to come, United Way will continue to focus on issues  and system change, where progress still needs to be made—so that all central Iowans have the building blocks for a quality life. 

Join us as we fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every central Iowan. Become an advocate—donate your time, your passion, and your voice.

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EDUCATION
Increase the percentage of central Iowa students who graduate from high school to 95 percent by 2020. 
United Way of Central Iowa supports policies to increase the number of children reading proficiently by the end of third grade, a key indicator of high school graduation.

  • Preschool/School Funding Flexibility (HF 564/HF 565)
    A UWCI/OpportUNITY work group legislative request, this legislation allows schools additional flexibility on the use of preschool funds. Local school boards will have greater discretion in how to spend these funds for instructional needs to promote early education success. Signed into law.

  • Summer Reading and Third Grade Retention (SF 511)
    Included in the overall budget, the provisions of code that established retention for third grade students who do not meet reading proficiency standards were repealed. Summer learning programs were not funded. Signed into law.

INCOME
Increase the percentage of central Iowans who are financially self-sufficient to 75 percent by 2020.
United Way of Central Iowa advocates for policies that enable Iowans to upskill and sustain employment to increase income.

  • High School Equivalency Diplomas (HF 473)
    Expands new pathways for those seeking to earn their high school equivalency. United Way led the advocacy effort to gain passage of this bill in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, and the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Signed into law.

  • RefugeeRise AmeriCorps Program (HF 653)
    Transfers $200,000 to the Economic Development Authority for the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Services to be used for the RefugeeRISE AmeriCorps program. Funds are used for member recruitment and training to improve the economic well-being and health of economically disadvantaged refugees in local communities across Iowa. This is a decrease of $100,000 compared to the FY 2016-17 appropriation. Signed into law.

  • Child Care Assistance “Cliff Effect”
    Three bills, which were introduced by minority legislators in the House and Senate, addressed UWCI’s specific legislative request to increase eligibility for the Child Care Assistance program to 185 percent of the poverty level, as well as increase the reimbursement to child care providers. None of these bills advanced this session. An additional $7.6 million was budgeted for the program. Administration and federal officials have been engaged to address this issue.

HEALTH
Increase central Iowa’s Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score to 64.5 by 2020.
United Way of Central Iowa advocates for a comprehensive, holistic approach to health and well-being, focused on prevention andaddressing root causes of poor health outcomes.

  • Children’s Mental Health (HF 653)
    Appropriated funds for the development and implementation of children’s well-being collaboratives to establish and coordinate prevention and early intervention services. Signed into law.

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Appropriation (HF 653)
    Appropriated $40,511 to support efforts that address the impact of adverse childhood experiences on Iowa’s population. This is a reduction of $10,000 from what was appropriated last year. Signed into law.

  • Mental Health Services (SF 504)
    Equalizes the per capita levy in all regions of the state and ensures solvency for Polk County Health Services. A stakeholder workgroup will be formed to make recommendations regarding the delivery of, access to, and coordination of services and supports for individuals with mental health, disability, and substance use disorder needs. Signed into law.

Download the 2017 Advocacy Scorecard

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Dave Stone

About The Author: Dave Stone

Dave Stone is the Advocacy Officer at United Way of Central Iowa.