In a metro that has been named No. 1 in community pride, you are proud to live local.

Maybe you frequent the thriving local restaurant scene or shop at independent boutiques. You buy produce at a farmers market or volunteer at your kids’ school. You support your church or spend your weekends biking a city trail or hiking at a state park. 

Did you know that when you give to United Way of Central Iowa, 100% of your dollars stay local?

Here are 4 reasons to give to the community we love through United Way.

1. You improve the entire community.

United Way of Central Iowa fights for the health, education, and financial stability of ALL central Iowans. Every time one life is changed, all of central Iowa benefits.

  • When more kids are prepared for school and reading at grade-level, every child in the classroom can concentrate better and get more of the teacher’s attention.
  • When more students graduate from high school or earn their high school equivalency diploma, there are more workers to fill the middle-skill job gap in central Iowa.
  • When more workers receive postsecondary training, find better-paying jobs, or learn how to manage their money, their finances are more stable and they can spend more money locally—improving the economic prosperity of the region.
  • When more people live healthy lives in healthy neighborhoods, kids miss fewer days of school, and employees miss fewer days of work.

 2. The lives you transform are your neighbors’.

United Way serves thousands of individuals throughout our community every year. For example:

  • breiner on carpet.jpgThe kids down your street may attend Summer in the City, United Way’s summer programs that provide a safe and healthy atmosphere for kids to improve reading and other academic skills while parents work.
  • Your waitress at your favorite local restaurant may be studying to become a pharmacy tech through United Way’s Central Iowa Healthworks—which is training 380 central Iowans for jobs in the health care field, as 40 percent of the health care workforce retires in the next 5-10 years.
  • Your co-worker’s kids may attend a child care center that works with 5-2-1-0 to implement healthy policies and provide resources that prevent childhood obesity—which can lead to lifelong health problems.

3. Your impact goes beyond Des Moines.

United Way of Central Iowa serves Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties. For example:

  • United Way’s Women’s Leadership Connection funds 18 child care centers—including ones in Altoona, West Des Moines, Clive, and Perry.
  • United Way’s VITA uses volunteers to prepare taxes for free at six locations, including Ankeny and Perry.
  • The United Way-funded Dallas County Health Navigator connects families to resources they need to live healthy lives, including 89-year Arletta and her five great-grandchildren.

4. Just a few dollars a day or week can make a difference.


Don’t think of a potential gift as one lump sum; imagine giving just a few dollars a day or week to United Way—what you might spend on a morning coffee, a lunch out at a restaurant, or a movie night with your spouse. These donations could:

  • Provide free books and classes for adults earning their high school equivalency diploma
  • Feed a family for three months with fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Provide books for 200 preschool kids who don’t have any reading material

A great way to give local is to support United Way of Central Iowa, as we invest in hundreds of vetted community programs that serve tens of thousands of central Iowans and make progress toward the community Goals for 2020 in Education, Income, and Health.

We have one life. To live better, we must LIVE UNITED.

We encourage you to give during your employer’s United Way campaign. If your employer does not run a campaign or you want to make an additional gift, click the button below to give online.

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Melanie Campbell

Written by Melanie Campbell

Melanie Campbell is United Way of Central Iowa's former Chief Donor Engagement Officer.