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



Percent of population struggling to meet basic needs: 

ALICE Report

increase in visits to the DMARC Food Pantry Network since 2012 

Des Moines Area Religious Council

 of low-income households experienced
at least one civil legal problem with health care, housing conditions, disability access, veterans’ benefits, or other issues in 2017.

Legal Services Organization, 2017 Justice Gap Report


 meals and food items were served or distributed to individuals/families through United Way-supported partners and shelter services in 2018. 

In 2019, a free 24/7 Housing Interpretation Hotline was launched by OpportUNITY’s New Iowans work group to help landlords and non-English speaking tenants solve housing issues.

calls were received by United Way’s
2-1-1 helpline in 2018. United Way’s 2-1-1 serves a 15-county area and helps Iowans address essential needs.

211 Pie Chart


Essential Needs Cabinet

Each member of the Essential Needs Cabinet brings unique expertise in the areas of poverty, human services, and more. This group of volunteers directs the strategy and investments to make progress addressing the needs of central Iowa's most vulnerable.

Essential Needs Cabinet Members

Janelle Pittman

Janelle Pttman

Cabinet Chair

Chief Marketing and Digital Strategy Officer

Mercy Health Network


Conor Boffeli
Financial Advisor
Bral | Niedert Private Wealth Adv.

Francis Boggus
Francis O. Boggus & Associates, LLC

Jennifer Dowil
International Product Stewardship Manager

Anita Fleming-Rife, Ph. D.
Founding CEO
AmericaOne Diversity and Inclusion Solutions, LLC 


Nick Hodne
Compliance Advisor

Callie Kramer
Citizenship Project Manager
John Deere

Madelyn Mauk
Account Executive
Holmes Murphy & Associates

Janell Pittman
Chief Marketing and Digital Strategy Officer
Mercy Health Network

Joe Sheridan
Director - Corporate Partnerships
Iowa Wild