United Way of Central Iowa has hired Seth Johnson as OpportUNITY Program Director. In this role, Seth will lead the community's collective impact plan to eliminate barriers to self-sufficiency and reduce poverty in central Iowa. 

Seth has served as campaign coordinator, policy advocate, and community organizer, working on multiple issues across the Midwest. In central Iowa, he was campaign coordinator for the American Heart Association, and the shop manager for the Des Moines Bicycle Collective, assisting homeless individuals to build skills and move toward self-sufficiency. 


"Seth brings extensive experience in building coalitions and engaging partners from nonprofits, corporations, and the community to achieve a common goal," said Elisabeth Buck, President of United Way of Central Iowa. "His expertise and passion will be instrumental in directing the community-driven effort to increase financial stability for all central Iowans."

Since the OpportUNITY Community Plan was launched a year ago, more than 2,500 nonprofits, businesses, and community members have signed on in support of plan, which is focused on four priority areas to increase opportunity and prosperity for the one-third of central Iowans who are not financially self-sufficient. Issue-focused work groups made up of stakeholders from different sectors have been working together to implement strategies that address major factors impacting poverty including employment readiness, food insecurity, adult and youth education, homelessness, transportation, and housing. 

Seth has been engaged with the city of Des Moines as a member of the Neighborhood Revitalization Board since 2015. Seth and his wife, Ashley, can often be found enjoying the outdoors and central Iowa's trails with their two dogs, visiting farmers markets, or attending cooking classes to learn new skills. 

Contact Seth at s.e.johnson@unitedwaydm.org or call 515-246-6554.

About United Way

United Way of Central Iowa fights for the health, education, and financial stability of all central Iowans. For over 100 years United Way of Central Iowa has brought together nonprofits, businesses, government, community leaders, volunteers, and more to identify and tackle central Iowa’s toughest challenges. Focusing on issues such as early grade reading, poverty, mental and social health, high school graduation, and career training, United Way of Central Iowa inspires central Iowans to give, advocate, and volunteer to improve lives and empower all in our community. For more information about United Way of Central Iowa, visit www.unitedwaydm.org.

About OpportUNITY

OpportUNITY is a collective impact initiative designed to increase opportunity and prosperity for the 196,000 central Iowans living in poverty. OpportUNITY brings together community members from different sectors to focus on the major factors impacting poverty, including employment readiness, food insecurity, adult and youth education, homelessness, transportation, housing and more. OpportUNITY's goal is to increase the percentage of people who are financially self-sufficient from 65.5 percent in 2013 to 75 percent in 2020. For more information about the OpportUNITY Community Plan, please visit www.unitedwaydm.org/opportunity

TAGS: Financial Stability

About The Author: Sarah Welch

Sarah Welch is a communications contractor for the Thriving Workforce initiative and is the former Strategic Communications Officer at United Way of Central Iowa.