Dec 15, 2023

United Way of Central Iowa Releases 2024 Advocacy Agenda

United Way of Central Iowa released its 2024 Advocacy Agenda at their Advocacy Update Breakfast held on Thursday, December 14 for policy makers, government officials, and members of the community.

The Advocacy Update featured presentations on key, statewide issues impacting United Way’s 5 Elements of a Thriving Community – specifically childcare workforce; safe, healthy, and affordable housing; and food security. 

Childcare Workforce
United Way of Central Iowa Advocacy Officer Dave Stone facilitated a panel discussion focusing on the challenges impacting central Iowa’s childcare workforce. United Way advocates for efforts to build innovative programs and investments to address childcare workforce shortages and support quality, affordable childcare for all.

“Instability in the childcare workforce remains a key barrier to ensuring that we have availability of quality, affordable childcare,” said Stone. “We are working to amplify solutions such as providing state income tax exemptions for childcare providers, extending pilot programs to allow providers access to the state’s Child Care Assistance (CCA) program, and examining property tax valuations for childcare centers to reduce overhead.”

Safe, Healthy, and Affordable Housing
United Way of Central Iowa, through its OpportUNITY Housing Workgroup, supports efforts to address housing barriers and reduce cost-related burdens for families seeking homeownership.

“We are meeting with city council members in our region to promote methods that allow housing in their community to be more attainable for those who live there,” said Joe Murphy, Iowa Business Council and Chair of United Way’s Public Policy Cabinet. “As was shared in United Way’s Community Report, nearly 8,000 central Iowa households are behind in rent. This incredible cost is impacting people we know and encounter every day: grocery store clerks, ambulance drivers, direct healthcare workers, childcare providers, and the families they’re working to support.”     

Food Security
United Way of Central Iowa advocates for and supports direct appropriations for the overall food security system and the Double Up Food Bucks program from the Healthiest State Initiative, which allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants better access to healthy, nutritious fruits and vegetables.

“Healthy, nutritious foods are expensive for a family supported by SNAP,” said Stone. “The Double Up Food Bucks program helps match participants’ purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables with privately funded support, allowing SNAP participants to ‘double up’ their purchases of nutritious options. We consider this solution a win for all involved – families are allowed to stretch food dollars on healthy food items, our economy will benefit from Double Up Food Bucks only being spent in Iowa-owned grocery stores and markets, and Iowa produce farmers will receive direct benefits from an increase in demand and new customers.”

United Way of Central Iowa’s 2024 Advocacy Agenda
United Way of Central Iowa’s Advocacy Agenda is informed by community partners working collectively to address critical community issues and is ultimately set by the organization’s Public Policy Cabinet – comprised of business and community leaders who volunteer to identify and advocate for policy solutions to the priority issues listed in the agenda. 

“At United Way, we know one of the most significant ways we can improve lives in our community is by advocating for change and policies that positively impact every central Iowan’s opportunity to thrive,” said Mary Sellers, President of United Way of Central Iowa. “From getting involved at the local level, to working directly with state and federal policymakers to make an impact, we are proud to support, and often take the lead on systems-level change that has made attaining success and thriving in our community a possibility for so many.”

Visit to find the full 2024 Advocacy Agenda, learn more about the organization’s advocacy efforts, and sign up to receive its Advocacy Newsletter sent during the legislative session.

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Dec 16, 2022

United Way of Central Iowa Released 2023 Advocacy Agenda

United Way of Central Iowa released its 2023 Advocacy Agenda at their Advocacy Forum Breakfast held on Friday, December 16 for policy makers, government officials, and members of the community.

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Feb 9, 2021

211 Iowa Recognizes its Record-Breaking Year on 211 Day

211 Iowa
In 2020, 211 usage in Iowa jumped a staggering 81% compared to the previous year. On National 211 Day, 211 Iowa recognizes its record-breaking year and its commitment to continue to serve the state. 

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Dec 18, 2020

United Way of Central Iowa Released 2021 Legislative Agenda

United Way of Central Iowa released its Legislative Agenda for the 2021 session of the Iowa General Assembly at a virtual event held yesterday for elected officials and members of the community.

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Sep 8, 2020

A Change to Iowa's Childcare Cliff Effect Legislation

United Way of Central Iowa has been advocating to eliminate the childcare “cliff effect” for well over a decade. This effort is a current priority of central Iowa’s OpportUNITY Plan to take action against poverty in our region.

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Jul 26, 2020

Americans with Disabilities Act

Two years ago, I accepted a position at Central Iowa Works under the leadership of Pat Steele. I quickly learned that Pat had a tremendous passion for those underserved and often marginalized in our community, especially people with disabilities. Pat made it his life’s work to make it so that anyone who wanted to work had the opportunity to work in a good job that gave them a sense of purpose and sufficient income to be as independent as possible.

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Jun 25, 2020

Why Pride Month Matters More During a Pandemic

The pandemic exposed us all to the isolation many LGBTQ+ people feel year-round.

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Jun 22, 2020

Civic Action is Community Action

Why the census and voting matter to our community.

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Jun 9, 2020

Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Coalition Receives 388 Signatures on Letter of Support to the State Legislature

As the Iowa State Legislature reconvened last week, the Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Coalition received 388 signatures of support from funders, business partners, nonprofits, and individual donors and volunteers throughout the state for its letter to the general assembly requesting Federal and State support for the nonprofit sector. The coalition is comprised of United Ways of Iowa, Iowa Council of Foundations, Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Bravo of Greater Des Moines, and United Way of Central Iowa.

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