ELI-1.pngUnited Way of Central Iowa Education Leadership Initiative (ELI) members believe in central Iowa’s youth. The name Education Leadership Initiative was adopted by ELI members in early 2011, to bring sharper focus to its mission to support and mentor youth.


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Through their financial contributions, volunteer service and advocacy, ELI members ensure students are supported during middle school and successfully make the transition from middle to high school and succeed through graduation – a building block for a good life.


Why Join?

  • Align your financial contribution and volunteer efforts to help youth succeed in our community.

  • Network with like-minded leaders.

  • Meet and learn from central Iowa’s most influential business leaders.

We’re inviting you to LIVE UNITED and join United Way of Central Iowa Education Leadership Initiative by directing your investment of $2,500 or more to ELI for the Lead Level or become a member with an annual investment of $1,000 or more to ELI. Please consider increasing your contribution through the Step-Up option.

ELI Members   ELI Programs   ELI Volunteers   ELI Brochure PDF


ELI Co-Chairs

Tim Kozitza
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Tim Rhoades

Tim Kozitza of Nationwide Companies and Tim Rhoades of John Deere Financial are the co-chairs for the 2017 United Way Education Leadership Connection campaign.

The ELI Campaign Leaders have a bold goal: to raise $1.1 million in the 2017 campaign. They have recruited a strong team of ELI volunteers to help build on ELI's 2016 results, and are leading a 20-member ELI Campaign Committee.  The co-chairs aim to continue stressing the importance of ELI members reaching out to friends and co-workers to share information about the work ELI is doing-and to help recruit new members.


ELI Membership Benefits

Join Education Leadership Initiative by directing $1,000 to ELI or through the step-up program. Involving this community's top leaders. Involving you.

  • United Way of Central Iowa recognizes all affinity group and leadership circle members in our annual Leadership Registry.
  • WLC Lead Women, ELI Lead Members, WLC Women of Tocqueville and ELI Tocqueville Society members receive photo recognition in full-page ads in the Business Record.
  • Members also receive special communications and event invitations, including special tours, leadership events, networking opportunities, happy hours, Principal Charity Classic skybox access and volunteer opportunities.

Member Level
  • In unique ELI events where you can meet, learn from and connect with peers and community leaders.
  • Timely e-communication about results of your investments and volunteer opportunities tied to our focus on education.
  • Opportunity to participate on ELI committees that provide direction related to special events, volunteer opportunities and investments.

$1,000 Level

  • Membership in the Leadership Circle, a group of more than 3,500 local leaders contributing $1,000-9,999 to United Way of Central Iowa.
  • Recognition in our United Way of Central Iowa Community Report and Leadership Circle Registry, published annually.
  • Opportunity to participate on ELI committees that provide direction related to special events, volunteer opportunities and investments.

$2,500 Level – Lead Member

  • A membership benefit of giving at the $2,500 level and above is recognition in the Business Record. Recognition is for contributions made during the 2015 campaign.
  • View the Business Record ad


If you are ready to join ELI but cannot yet make the full financial commitment of $1,000 or $2,500, the Step-Up program is a great way to begin.



ELI Member

ELI Lead Member

Year 1: $500 $1,500
Year 2: $750 $2,000
Year 3: $1,000 $2,500



ELI Investments

ELI members make sure youth have quality out-of-school opportunities, caring adult mentors and a network of community support. And ELI helps youth chart a course through middle school to high school, through high school graduation, on to college or trade school, and ultimately to the world of work and successful adulthood.

ELI supports United Way of Central Iowa’s 2020 EDUCATION goal—to increase the percentage of central Iowa students who graduate from high school to 95%- by:

  • Investing in programs that identify students most at risk of dropping out and offer supporting services.
  • Identifying opportunities to improve family engagement. Improving out-of-school opportunities to include a stronger academic focus.
  • Investing in summer programming that improves academic retention and supports the transition from middle school to high school.

ELI investments are driven by the ELI Investment Committee, which makes funding decisions based on research-based predictive indicators and best practices.

“I come from a lower middle-class family. I was the first in my extended family to graduate from college. Education is the most effective way to address poverty, hunger, crime, and other social issues. I'm living proof that education leads to greater opportunities"

Shane Schulte
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

"The Education Leadership Initiative focuses on middle-school transition, a treacherous time in a student's journey, especially for those at-risk."


Chase Young
Education Leadership Initiative Director

cyoung@unitedwaydm.org   (515) 246-6504