When Caring Women Unite...

We are a diverse, vibrant group bound together by the mission to improve the future of our youngest Central Iowans. We raise our voices to represent our community’s children. We roll up our sleeves to give our youngest learners the best start. We leave a legacy of change that makes central Iowa better for everyone.

Women United—formerly known as Women’s Leadership Connection—is for any woman who believes that all children deserve quality early care and learning opportunities from birth. Each year, we invest more than $1.6 million in research-based strategies and programs that create a lasting impact on the next generation.

View the Brochure    

View Women United Investments


20 Years of Women United

Since 2002, Women United has raised more than $21 million to improve the network of care and learning that ensure young children are ready to succeed in school. More than 700 of central Iowa’s most generous and influential women give their time, voice and resources to support quality early learning and provide opportunities for those who need it most.

Joining Women United

Nothing is more important to our community than ensuring that every young person is on a path to success from the start. Your investment directly impacts central Iowa students for their entire lives.

As a Women United member, you can also enjoy these benefits:

  • See firsthand how your investment improves young children’s lives.
  • Share your talents on committees and by volunteering.
  • Network with like-minded women and community leaders.
  • Be part of an internationally recognized group of dedicated female philanthropists.
  • Gain new business and career opportunities by demonstrating community leadership.


Women United Step-up Program

Enjoy the benefits of Women United membership by joining a three-year step-up program.

   Member ($1,000) Lead Woman ($2,500)

Woman of Tocqueville

Year One $500  $1,500 $5,000
Year Two $750 $2,000 $7,500
Year Three $1,000 $2,500 $10,000


Member Levels

Member: Invitations to Women United events, where you can connect with some of central Iowa’s most influential women; regular emails with information about your investment and volunteer opportunities 

  • $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—published online
  • $2,500 Level - Lead Woman: Annual photo recognition in the Des Moines Business Record
  • $10,000 Level - Woman of Tocqueville: Full membership in the Tocqueville Society

Women United Members


Women United leads the charge to improve children's lives

Women United members leave their fingerprints on a legacy of change that benefits an entire generation. Each year, we invest $1.6 million to support 17 child care centers, 200 in-home providers, professional development for teachers, and targeted education- and health-focused programs.

Women United Investments




3,321 children ages 0-5 participated in high-quality early literacy programs funded by Women United.


1,305 children had a developmental screening to assess age-appropriate skills and identify developmental delays, with 11% receiving additional resources to improve school readiness.


161 preschool children at Women United-supported centers partnered with a mentor to develop reading skills through Book Buddy. 74% of the children showed growth in literacy.


72% of Central Iowa kindergartners were proficient in literacy skills, up 16% from two years before.


Watch Now

It's not just the children in Women United-supported programs who are impacted by your investment. Their parents lives are improved, as well. Watch this video about how Misty and her son have worked to rebuild their lives after tragedy with the help of Women United. 


Why Women Give

jess mcculloh

Jess McCulloh, Wells Fargo

"More people in this world should have the opportunity to drop their kids off and pick them up at the end of the day and know that they will be safe,  cared for, and have a great day. By lifting up all families, we are enhancing the experiences of our own children as well. "


jem gong-browne

Jem Gong-Browne, Principal

"I don't know that my family was ever in a position to give, but I felt I was on the receiving end of a lot of things, so now I'm in a position to give back."




Jamie Schug, DART

"I feel good knowing that the dollars I contribute to Women United support young children in our community and put them on the right path to be ready to start kindergarten."



Shop for Women United Merchandise

Visit the Women United online store for items like these!

T-shirt black


Jacket Blue-1


WU Pin-1


WU Spiral Journal-1



Women United Committees


Advisory Committee 

Comprised of the chairs of each Women United committee, members share updates on each area, discuss strategic direction, and assist with on-going communication and explore ways to highlight Women United successes and early childhood issues.

Advocacy Committee 

Monitor and engage in legislative activities related to early childhood learning including interaction with legislators and hosting advocacy-related educational sessions for WLC members.

Investment Committee 

Develop new investment strategies, monitor current investments, make annual funding recommendations and provide quarterly updates to UWCI Executive Committee.



Jaclyn Wulfekuhle

Women United Director

jaclyn.wulfekuhle@unitedwaydm.org    515-246-6548

"Women United has been a powerful force in central Iowa for preschool children in need. We are proud to have raised millions and invested in some amazing programs to help kids."