Women United brochure coverWhen 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.

Since 2002, we have 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.

View the Brochure View Women United Investments


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Joining Women United

Women UnitedNothing 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

You're Invited to

Women United

Interested members:
Tell us how you'd like to get involved.

Current members: Share your giving plans for the 2019 campaign.

If your employer runs a United Way campaign, please give through your workplace to take advantage of any donor matches or other incentives.

If not, you can give to Women United online today.

Give Now

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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

Here's what we've accomplished in the past year:


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


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


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.


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

Eh Moo

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Eh Moo carried all the books she had received in Book Buddy program in her backpack all year, so she could read them to her little brother after school. By the end of the year, her bag was stuffed with 25 books.

Listen to the Story

Cecelia & Ezequiel


After a childhood spent in foster care, Cecelia got pregnant while still in high school. Scavo's Teddy Bear Town, funded by Women United, provided high-quality child care to Ezequiel while she earned her diploma.

 Read More



Women United's Smile Squad visited Lam's elementary school to provide free dental screenings. Since her family didn't have insurance, Smile Squad connected her to a clinic where she could get cavities treated for free.

Read More

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

" 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.  "

Jess McCulloh, Wells Fargo
jem gong-browne

" 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. "

Jem Gong-Browne, Principal

" 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. "

Jamie Schug, DART

Shop for Women United Merchandise

Visit the Women United online store for items like these!

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Upcoming Women United Events 

Literacy Kit Social

November 13, 2019

Trostel's Greenrbiar 


Mingle with other Women United members as we finish literacy kits that will help central Iowa students build reading skills. 


Sign up now

Book Drive


November and December 

As you complete your holiday shopping, swing by Barnes & Noble on University Ave. in Clive and donate a book or two to United Way of Central Iowa. We'll share a recommended book list soon. Simply pick up books from that list and when you check out, let the cashier know which books are for the United Way book drive. We'll distribute all of the books to child-serving programs in central Iowa. 


        Legislative Breakfast 

December 18, 2019

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden 


Come learn about our 2020 legislative advocacy priorities in education, income, and health. We'll discuss the issues that impact central Iowa families and efforts you can support to make greater change. 

Photos from Past Events

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.



Jem Gong-Browne

Director of Corporate Strategy,

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.



ashley bohnenkamp

Ashley Bohnenkamp

Investment Committee 

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



Jess McCulloh

Vice President, Talent Acquisition Strategy & Delivery,
Wells Fargo

Engagement Committee 

Plan and execute special events for WLC members including networking, education, and recognition of child care providers reaching milestones.



Lonnie Dafney

Director of Human Resources,
Federal Home Loan Bank

Campaign Committee 

Provides input to determine annual WLC fundraising goal and reaches out via personal phone calls and written communication to assist with renewing and prospecting members.


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Jenene Armstrong 
Community Volunteer

If you're interested in joining a Women United committee, please contact Jaclyn Wulfekuhle, Women United Director, at Jaclyn.Wulfekuhle@unitedwaydm.org

"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."


Jaclyn Wulfekuhle

Women United Director

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