United Way of Central Iowa has been awarded the Maddie’s Circle grant to further support United Way’s work in fostering a thriving community.

Every year, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines honors Maddie Levitt by awarding the Maddie’s Circle grant to five organizations to introduce programs and reach a new generation of philanthropists and community leaders.

“We are honored to have been selected as a recipient of this generous gift,” said Mary Sellers, President of United Way of Central Iowa: “Maddie was incredibly important to United Way and to our community. She was a generous donor, an active and enthusiastic volunteer, a nationally-recognized member of the Tocqueville Society, and as our organization’s first female campaign chair in 1986, she forged the path for many women in our community. Central Iowa has benefitted from her longstanding commitment to supporting our community. … 

To this day, through Maddie’s Circle she continues to make an impact, helping many organizations address urgent needs and implement strategies to encourage new donors and empower others for long-term positive impact. This gift will allow United Way the opportunity to engage donors in our work, furthering the longevity of our UNITED to THRIVE strategy.”

Maddie was a lifelong resident of central Iowa and was well known for her passion for philanthropy and bringing light to any situation. Those who knew her would describe her as bold and that she always led by example, never asking anyone to do something she wasn’t prepared to do herself.

Maddie’s Circle and United Way of Central Iowa
Thanks to the Maddie’s Circle grant, United Way of Central Iowa’s donor affinity groups – Education Leadership Initiative (ELI), LINC, United LEAGUE, and Women United – are able to continue encouraging new donors and empower others through mentoring, leadership, fun, and education in philanthropy, all while making a positive impact in our community. These donor affinity groups attract donors who want their dollars to support specific needs in central Iowa. Each affinity group supports one element in the 5 Elements of a Thriving Community in the UNITED to THRIVE strategy:
  • ELI: Invests in strategies focusing on Education Success by supporting central Iowa youth during middle school so they’re not just ready, but excited to graduate high school with a plan for their future.

  • LINC: Young professionals supporting Essential Needs, helping central Iowans gain access to quality, nutritious food, and a safe place to call home.

  • United LEAGUE: Supports United Way of Central Iowa’s Economic Opportunity efforts that directly empower and support central Iowa’s Black community. 

  • Women United: Invests in Early Childhood Success strategies to provide safe, reliable, and affordable childcare so our youngest central Iowans start their lives healthy and ready to learn. 

The work done throughout these affinity groups continue to show positive results in central Iowa. We are appreciative of the Maddie’s Circle gift that allows United Way to continue encouraging new donor membership, furthering our work in fostering a thriving community – one that is equitable, empowered, and engaged.

About United Way of Central Iowa’s Donor Affinity Groups
Affinity groups allow like-minded donors to direct their giving and volunteering to the causes they care about most, and to meet and learn with others with that same passion for helping others in our community. These powerful groups band together to have great impact on some of our most challenging issues.

I Want to Learn More About United Way's Donor Affinity Groups

About Maddie’s Circle
Maddie passed away in 2007 and Maddie’s Circle, a fund administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, was created to honor her contributions. The purpose of Maddie’s Circle is to ignite a passion in philanthropy and volunteering among those seeking greater engagement and impact in our community. The underlying principles of Maddie’s Circle are giving, volunteering, mentoring, and fun. The goal is to identify and provide resources to support projects that inspire and carry-on Maddie Levitt’s spirit of philanthropy, mentoring and volunteerism while impacting important community needs.

Topics: Legacy Giving, Donor Affinity Group, Maddie's Circle Grant

Chase Young

Written by Chase Young

Chase Young is the Director of United Way of Central Iowa's Education Leadership Initiative.