EDUCATION INCOME HEALTH  ESSENTIAL NEEDS COVID-19 DOWNLOAD A PDF

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EDUCATION

Increase the percentage of central Iowa students who graduate from high school to 95%

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Iowa Department of Education

 WHAT WE FIGHT FOR


 

SCHOOL
READINESS

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Early screenings catch developmental, hearing, and vision issues before they interfere with learning. Children from families with low-income are almost twice as likely to have a reported developmental delay or disability as children from families with higher-income.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

 EARLY-GRADE READING

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50% of students of color are reading on grade level in 3rd grade compared to 78% of their white peers – a 28% gap.

Iowa Department of Education


Children who cannot read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade are 4 times less likely to graduate from high school.

 Annie E. Casey Foundation

MIDDLE SCHOOL SKILL BUILDING

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It is vital to focus on building both academic and social skills in middle school (reading, comprehension, fluency, transition from arithmetic to mathematics, and camaraderie).

afterschoolalliance.org

 

WHERE WE WIN


 

SCHOOL
READINESS
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1,602

of central Iowa kindergartners were proficient in literacy skills during the 2017-2018 school year, up from 55.5% in 2014-2015*, with help from Women United’s investments serving children from birth to age 8.

* Iowa Department of Education

 

EARLY-GRADE READING

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156,767

books for children have been collected over the past five years and distributed for free to childcare centers, schools, nonprofit programs, and others who serve families in low-income households throughout central Iowa through Stuff the Bus and other book drives.

 

OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME

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63%

of middle school students in central Iowa participated in at least one out-of-school activity. Since United Way began funding the Community School Coordinator position at Des Moines Public Schools, 5,163 6th-12th graders participated in more than one out-of-school activity, a 30+% increase.

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Casey and his family seek a better life in Des Moines.


New to Des Moines, Casey is eager to move his family out of poverty. Despite going through a custody battle for Kinnick (8) and Kyndall (7), being a single dad, and having a full-time job, he completed the DMACC HiSet program to earn his high school equivalency in less than four months. He’s since enrolled in DMACC to finish with an associate degree.

read the full story

INCOME

Increase the percentage of central Iowans who are financially self-sufficient to 75%

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U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, most recent 5-year estimates for Polk, Dallas, and Warren Counties (2014-2018)

 

 WHAT WE FIGHT FOR


 

WORKPLACE
SKILLS GAP


54% of jobs in Iowa require skills training beyond high school, but not a four-year degree. Only 49% of workers are ready to fill these jobs.

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National Skills Coalition

EDUCATION & INCOME DISPARITY

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While 62% of White Iowans over the age of 25 have attained some postsecondary education or training, only 33% of Hispanics and 56% of African Americans have education beyond high school.

U.S. Census, American Community Survey



The median household income for Black American households in Polk County is $33,816. In comparison, the median household for all of Polk County is $63,350.

One Economy Report

 

CHILDCARE & THE CLIFF EFFECT

Largest average monthly costs for an Iowa family of four (2 adults, 1 preschooler, 1 infant):
  • $1,035 child care
  • $800 health care
  • $659 rent or mortgage

ALICE Report



95% of parents receiving Child Care Assistance benefits are working, but a raise of as little as 15 cents per hour could cause them to lose these benefits.

Iowa Department of Human Services

 WHERE WE WIN


 

WORKPLACE
SKILLS GAP


Central Iowa Works
is a United Way of Central Iowa initiative that turns barriers into stepping stones to employment.

500

central Iowans are being served by Central Iowa HealthWorks, 100 more than our goal. Other Central Iowa Works programs provide training and more for 90 employers, nonprofits, government agencies, and community partners. 

 

EDUCATION & INCOME DISPARITY

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36,000

more central Iowans are financially self-sufficient than 3 years before.

CHILDCARE & THE CLIFF EFFECT


We lead efforts to eliminate the child care “cliff effect” and increase access to quality and affordable child care by expanding income eligibility of the Child Care Assistance (CCA) program to 0-200 percent of the federal poverty level, including a tiered co-pay schedule. We advocate for the stabilization of the child care provider market through CCA program improvements and reimbursement rates.
 

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The Governor’s FOCUS Committee on Criminal Justice Reform adopted 17 recommendations of the OpportUNITY Reentry Work Group, working to break down the barriers to success for individuals coming out of incarceration. Included in the recommendations are strategies to improve the education, workforce participation, and mental health of returning citizens.

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Like many, they needed help, but not just in one area.


“People just don’t go from $10 an hour to $20 – it’s not realistic,” Kelsie, Casey’s case manager at Hawthorn Hill, said. And with his already meager budget, he was hit hard when his car broke down. Without a car, he lost his job. “Finding a job that will work around my kids is hard enough, but not having a car – that’s a lot harder,” Casey said.

read the full story

HEALTH

Increase central Iowa's Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index score to 64.5

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Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index, West Des Moines-Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

 WHAT WE FIGHT FOR

 

THE FIVE FACTORS OF WELL-BEING

PHYSICAL

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#1 most common childhood disease:

TOOTH DECAY

  • 5x more common than asthma
  • 4x more common than childhood obesity
  • 20x more common than childhood diabetes

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

PURPOSE

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In 2018 41.5% of Iowans volunteered, ranking 4th in the U.S. Volunteering has a positive effect on one’s sense of purpose and life satisfaction.

Corp. for Nat’l & Community Service

SOCIAL

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45% of people admit to feeling lonely.
Loneliness and social isolation are 2 of the most severe epidemics in the world today.

“15 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering that will Inspire You” Joanne Fritz

FINANCIAL

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Nearly 19% of rural household income is spent on food, compared to 17% of income in urban counties. One of the key indicators of health is access to fresh, affordable, healthy foods.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

COMMUNITY

Artboard 22-160% of health is determined by zip code rather than genetic code. The healthiest communities are those with the most economic stability.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, American Hospital Association

WHERE WE WIN

 


PHYSICAL

15,700 central Iowans accessed affordable dental services funded by United Way of Central Iowa with over $176,000 in donated care in the form of free services and sliding fee discounts.

PURPOSE

More than 10,787 volunteers donated over 87,189 volunteer hours in opportunities sponsored by United Way of Central Iowa, a total of $2,217,216 in economic impact.

SOCIAL

The Coalition to Advance Mental Health in Iowa for Kids (CAMHI4Kids), successfully advocated for legislation to establish a children’s behavioral health system. Highlights include:

  • $2.1 million in funding to the Area Education Agencies for school-based children’s mental health supports
  • A statewide crisis hotline
  • Clarification of eligibility
  • Additions to the state board charged with oversight

FINANCIAL

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45,484 pounds of fresh produce were grown in the community and corporate giving gardens supported by United Way of Central Iowa, feeding 18,193 central Iowans.

COMMUNITY

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94,876 children in central Iowa demonstrated healthy habits through United Way’s 5-2-1-0 initiative in schools, childcare centers, out-of-school programs, and health care clinics.

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Education, Income, Health, and Essential Needs all tie together in our lives.


His son had a hard time transitioning away from his mom, but after meeting with a therapist, Casey has noticed big improvements. “I don’t know how anybody survives as a single parent without help,” Casey said. Without Hawthorn Hill, he’d be in a far different, far worse position than he’s in right now. “Seeking support is so, so important at any level, at any point in life.”

read the full story

ESSENTIAL NEEDS

Without access to essential needs, children cannot learn in school, families cannot be financially stable, and individuals cannot enjoy health and well-being.

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WHAT WE FIGHT FOR


 

FOOD
INSECURITY

Artboard 26-1In central Iowa, more than 62,000 (11%) residents are food insecure. Nearly one-third are children.

ALICE Report


TRANSPORTATION

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95% of central Iowans who are not financially self-sufficient report transportation as a barrier.

Central Iowa Transportation Study

AFFORDABLE
HOUSING

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Housing costs increased by 6% while the average household income only increased by 1.9% from 2017 to 2018.

Polk County Housing Trust Fund & U.S. Census



Nearly 58,000 households in the Des Moines MSA are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on housing.

Nearly 25% of those are severely cost-burdened, spending more than 50% of their income on housing.

 Des Moines Area Religious Council

WHERE WE WIN

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30 Organizations came together through the OpportUNITY workgroup for Food Insecurity to promote Summer Meal Meet-Ups for children. The awareness campaign focused on providing information and materials to everyone who had contact with children living in low-income households and resulted in an 11.3% increase in participation.

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3,000 people received United Way-funded legal assistance to help increase financial stability. Successes include:

  • 731 Families/individuals stayed in their homes.
  • 1,104 People received legal assistance with housing issues.
  • 851 Families/individuals were protected from losing their assets, such as income, a vehicle, or a home.

 

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In 2019, United Way of Central Iowa operated 211 in 15 counties in Iowa. Beginning January 1, 2020, United Way of Central Iowa more than tripled its capacity to operate 211 in 57 Iowa counties, now offering this free 24/7 service for the majority of our state.

DUE TO COVID-19

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211 served as the statewide hotline to respond to the questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 pandemic for the Iowa Department of Public Health, receiving an average of 1,200 calls per day in March 2020.

32,705

calls were received from 15 counties by United Way of Central Iowa’s 211 Help Line in 2019. 211 helps connect Iowans to resources that meet essential needs, like those listed in the chart.

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RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Thanks to the contributions from donors, volunteers, and incredible partnerships we have across the community, United Way of Central Iowa has been able to nimbly and decisively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic – creating resources to address new and urgent needs. Living UNITED means helping all central Iowans, especially the most vulnerable, as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together.

211 Logo - white - tagline

 

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Disaster Recovery Fund

United Way of Central Iowa, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, and several other organizations established the Greater Des Moines Disaster Recovery Fund (DRF). The DRF gives donors the reassurance their funds will be responsibly invested to meet the community’s most urgent needs. United Way committed $100,000 upon activation.

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Disaster Recovery Fund

United Way of Central Iowa rallied local organizations to centralize volunteer opportunities in a special COVID-19 section of our Get Connected volunteer portal, allowing them to post their most urgent
in-person or virtual volunteer and donation needs.

NONPROFIT RESOURCES AND SUPPORT

United Way of Central Iowa collaborated with community partners to establish resources and support for the central Iowa nonprofit community. Through the generosity of We Write Code, an Iowa based custom software development company, we were able to launch the following:


 

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Disaster Recovery Fund

United Way of Central Iowa, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, and several other organizations established the Greater Des Moines Disaster Recovery Fund (DRF). The DRF gives donors the reassurance their funds will be responsibly invested to meet the community’s most urgent needs. United Way committed $100,000 upon activation.

 

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Disaster Recovery Fund

United Way of Central Iowa, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, and several other organizations established the Greater Des Moines Disaster Recovery Fund (DRF). The DRF gives donors the reassurance their funds will be responsibly invested to meet the community’s most urgent needs. United Way committed $100,000 upon activation.

 

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Disaster Recovery Fund

 

United Way of Central Iowa, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, and several other organizations established the Greater Des Moines Disaster Recovery Fund (DRF). The DRF gives donors the reassurance their funds will be responsibly invested to meet the community’s most urgent needs. United Way committed $100,000 upon activation.

COMMUNITY CIRCLE CONVERSATIONS

We host a weekly virtual conversation with regional nonprofits in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, Polk County Housing Trust Fund, Bravo Greater Des Moines, and additional members of the Central Iowa Funders Forum. Conversations allow nonprofits to explore collaboration, share resources, and connect during this challenging time. Our community is at its best when we leverage strengths and partner for the greater good.


 

211 IOWA: THE STATEWIDE COVID-19 HOTLINE

United Way of Central Iowa operates 211 in 57 Iowa counties. The free helpline is available 24/7 and connects Iowans to essential services including food, shelter, and more. Early in March, the Iowa Department of Public Health enlisted 211 as the statewide hotline for general information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Within 12 hours of starting as the COVID-19 hotline, 211 was able to upscale staff and equipment to take on this enormous task. 

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211 Representatives are answering questions and calming fears related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with Polk County Health Systems, we added a phone bank of healthcare professionals to answer questions about symptoms, diagnosis, and testing for COVID-19 – taking an enormous pressure off our community doctors’ offices and clinic phone lines.  

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Mental health professionals are now available, helping Iowans cope with the stress and fear associated with the pandemic. 

 

As always, 211 connects Iowans to the essential resources they need now more than ever at a time when these resources are more difficult to access due to closures and increased need.

Meeting the New Needs of Our Community

Navigating the landscape of public and nonprofit assistance can be challenging. For many, the financial and emotional strife caused by the COVID-19 pandemic represents their first time needing support from human services such as food banks, rent assistance, and more.

Our 211 operators deliver accurate information with empathy and patience. Callers truly appreciate the opportunity to speak directly with a local expert willing to do whatever they can to help.

211 is here for all Iowans,
not just our community’s
most vulnerable.


211 is free, accurate, confidential, and available 24/7.


Learn more at 211Iowa.org

The United Way of Central Iowa Data Team is available to provide maps, data, and statistics about human services in central Iowa.
If you have a need for data, please click below to submit a request.

Data Request Form