Annual Report 2022 - DIGITAL COVER - MM

Our Mission:

Unite the caring power of communities to invest in effective solutions that improve people’s lives.

Our Credo:

We fight for the education, financial stability, and health of every person in our community.

Community Driven

“Community- driven” -this phrase perfectly sums up the work we’ve accomplished over the last year at United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI). After two years of challenges, we’ve rebuilt the foundation for our near- and long-term future with input from you: our community.

We knew our community’s needs shifted since the start of 2020, and we took the time to delve into finding them. In last year’s report, we briefly talked about our in-depth Community Impact Assessment. This three-pronged approach of researching census-level data, providing a community-wide survey, and conducting focus groups with under-represented populations gave us a good sense of needs across the five counties we serve. It was no surprise that affordable housing, childcare, and safety net services came back as the top challenges for individuals and families from all walks of life.

From there, we rolled up our sleeves and dove into building solutions for these top challenges. The outcome of this work is our new community-driven strategy, Unite to Inspire. This encapsulates Eastern Iowa’s greatest needs, and provides tangible ways for individuals to take action in creating a community of belonging. You can read more about Unite to Inspire on page 2 .

As Eastern Iowa’s collaborator and convener, it’s second nature for us to bring together partners and stakeholders to create a stronger community. That’s the great thing about Unite to Inspire: it brings together all of us—and all of you— to create solutions and address these needs. No one entity, organization, or person will be able to solve these issues alone.

Throughout this report, you’ll read about how you and others have already stepped up to address these needs in both big and small ways. The last year is proof that getting involved VIA United Way— through Volunteering, Investing and Advocating— creates ripple effects and sustainable change. It’s our hope one (or perhaps more than one!) of these insights will inspire you to be the change we need to foster a thriving community.

Thank you for your support over the past year. We hope you understand the valuable role you play in our community-driven strategy, and are eager to unite with you and inspire others to create a stronger community VIA United Way.

President & CEO

Board Chair

Table of Contents

Space User for the “jump to” feature

Transamerica @ Camp Tanager (6)


When our community faces a crisis, we unite to overcome our challenges together.

And when we see others facing inequity or struggling to get the support they need — through you — we spring into action.

Our collaborative Community Impact Assessment results motivated us to develop a community-driven strategy that addresses Eastern Iowa’s greatest needs. This strategy, called Unite to Inspire, moves families on pathways from crisis to stability by addressing needs in four focus area: economic mobility, childhood success, access to healthcare, and safety net services.

Here’s how Unite to Inspire helps families in our community:


After a couple years of tremendous struggles, the Smiths are unable to afford rent in their current home and are facing eviction. Along with this, they don’t have funds to pay for other needs, such as utilities, food, and health insurance.

The Smiths turned to a homeless shelter and food bank— which have programs funded by UWECI—for help. Thanks to their services, the family was able to get back on their feet and provide for themselves.


The Williams family recently welcomed a new child into their family and were ready to get back into the workforce until their childcare center closed. They were left to search for other options but were unable to find anything affordable. Without this essential service, they’ve struggled to balance work and caring for their family.

Due to the long-term effects of the pandemic, UWECI invested disaster dollars into childcare centers across the region. Because of this, several centers were able to stay open and even added slots, allowing the Williams to find the childcare
they needed.

Space User for the “jump to” feature



Volunteering is one of the most productive and fun ways to unite our communities.

Through the connecting power of United Way, your impact as a volunteer mobilizes area nonprofits to continue
serving our community’s greatest needs.

Here’s some of the ways you helped us make an impact last year.


Addressing Eastern Iowa’s needs isn’t complete without serving both rural and urban communities. In 2021, we expanded our reach into our rural communities. Today, UWECI has volunteer centers—and volunteer engagement specialists— in Benton, Cedar, Jones, and Linn counties. This expansion allows us to reach a more comprehensive group of individuals, use our knowledge to better support their needs, and ensure maximum impact across all the communities we serve.


UWECI engages individuals and groups through volunteerism in multiple ways, but none are more unique than through our Time for Art: A Celebration of Volunteers event. In addition to celebrating five outstanding volunteer award winners, attendees bid volunteer hours instead of dollars on local art. This year’s event, which gathered 22 art pieces, brought in 2,196 pledged hours of volunteering for our community. This is worth nearly $65,800!


What happens when more than 1,000 people spend their day volunteering across Eastern Iowa? Our community’s nonprofits become stronger and more sustainable! This year’s Day of Caring, which is the largest one-day volunteer event in our area, connected 46 companies and 41 nonprofits to complete various volunteer projects. In total, 5,750 volunteer hours were poured into our community, which is worth more than $172,200.

Space User for the “jump to” feature



In truly great communities, people take care of each other and invest in resources to address its greatest needs.

Your donations to United Way push us to be a leader and connector for those we serve.

Here are a few examples of how your contributions supported our community last year.


When you support UWECI, you help put money into the pockets of individuals and families who need it most. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program continues to be a crucial service for low-to-middle income families who need assistance with filing tax returns. During the 2021 tax year, volunteers filed over 1,560 tax returns, which reinvested $2.9 million back into our community.

Those who can’t afford tax preparation fees either miss important tax credits or do not file taxes at all. You support allows VITA to ensure that every necessary document is filed, helping provide feelings of relief and gratitude to those who participate in the program.


In 2021, UWECI was made a beneficiary of the Esther and Robert Armstrong Charitable Trust Fund, a designated fund established at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. The Trust was originally established in 2002 with a board of volunteer trustees to benefit religious, charitable, scientific, and literary institutions. By supporting UWECI through their trust, Esther and Robert Armstrong’s community support continues after their lifetimes and ensures services for those most in need.


As the long-term recovery process for the pandemic and derecho continues, disaster funding continues to support Eastern Iowa’s needs. Last year, more than $257,000 from UWECI’s Disaster Recovery Fund poured into community partners to address needs such as childcare solutions, housing coalitions, derecho cleanup, and more.

These issues, which were ongoing before the pandemic, continue to become more significant as time passes. Your dollars, while donated in the height of disaster, continue to support families in the months and years to come as we continue to recover.

Space User for the “jump to” feature

Great American Leasing Photo #1- no tv


We all have a stake in creating a healthy, prosperous Eastern Iowa.

When you use your voice to advocate for change through United Way, you support our mission of creating a sustainable and equitable community for all.

Here’s how your actions have made an impact over the last year.


Every person has the power to advocate for causes they care about. UWECI helped members of our community do this through our first Civic Circle discussion series. Over the course of nine virtual sessions, this group discussed the nine elements of the Civic Circle and, how this applies to inequities in Eastern Iowa, and created a personal action plan to amplify individual civic engagement. By helping community members identify important causes in their life, they are more equipped to advocate for systemic change in the place they call home.


Access to healthcare—including both physical and mental health— continues to be a great need as co-pays and insurance costs continue to rise. Women United donors and volunteers are committed to making accessible healthcare for all a reality. This group raised $210,000 for women’s health services last year, and are active in advocacy efforts. Having both dollars and voices from groups like Women United amplifies our efforts to move steadily towards our goal of ensuring equitable access to healthcare for everyone who needs it.

Artboard 15


Part of engaging individuals in advocacy is to educate them on already-present inequities. Last year, more than 2,000 individuals—with over 870 from Eastern Iowa alone—committed to learning and growing during our 21-Day Equity Challenge. This challenge highlighted disparities in Eastern Iowa, from redlining and housing to allyship and our justice system. Through creating and sharing educational opportunities, we help lay the groundwork for understanding our community’s issues through an equitable lens.


Engaging individuals through nonprofit board service is an essential way to shape our community’s future. Through our annual Board Orientation and Leadership Development (BOLD) program, UWECI empowers individuals with the skills and training to not only be informed board members, but to create equitable communities through their service. This year marked UWECI’s fourth year of BOLD, and the pilot year for the collegiate version of the program, to engage emerging and future leaders in Eastern Iowa.

Space User for the “jump to” feature





• Aging Services, Inc.
• Area Substance Abuse Council
• Benton County Volunteer Program
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids and East Central Iowa, Inc.
• Boys and Girls Clubs of the Corridor
• Catherine McAuley Center
• Community Health Free Clinic
• Eastern Iowa Health Center
• Foundation 2
• Goodwill Industries of the Heartland
• Hawkeye Area Community Action
Program (HACAP)
• Horizons: A Family Service Alliance
• Iowa Legal Aid
• Jane Boyd Community House
• Kids First Law Center
• Kids on Course
• Rural Employment Alternatives, Inc.
• Southeast Linn Community Center
• The Arc of East Central Iowa
• UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Dental Health Center
• Volunteer Services of Cedar County
• Waypoint Services for Women, Children, and Families
• Willis Dady Emergency Shelter, Inc.
• YouthPort

• Ray Brown — ESCO Group – Co-Chair
• Kelley Marchbanks — Advancement Resources – Co-Chair
• Jim Beardsworth — Community Volunteer
• Lydia Brown — Skogman Realty
• Noreen Bush — Cedar Rapids Community School District
• Chris DeWolf — Lil’ Drug Store Products
• Hugh Ekberg — CRST International, Inc.
• Matt Evans — TrueNorth Companies
• Teri Gibson – TrueNorth Companies
• Lynn Hartman — Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman, PLC
• Curt Heideman — Bankers Trust
• Dennis Jordan — Alliant Energy
• James Klein — Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust
– Past Chair
• Beth Lehman — Collins Aerospace
• Kelly Lind-Daufeldt — US Bank
• Aaron Loan — Acumen
• Shawn Lueth — Rathje Construction
• Ann Oleson — Via
• Toby Olson — OPN Architects
• Alejandro Pino — YPN
• Joel Schmidt — Alliant Energy
• Duane Smith — TrueNorth Companies
• Gary Streit — Shuttleworth & Ingersoll PLC
• Todd Wishman — Bankers Trust

• Kari Cooling — Holmes Murphy – Chair
• Kim Becicka — Community Volunteer
• Sarika Bhakta — Nikeya Diversity Consulting
• Emily Blomme — Foundation 2
• Ray Brown — ESCO Group – Vice Chair
• Noreen Bush — Cedar Rapids Community School District
• Andre Dawson — Unishippers
• Pat Deignan —BankIowa
• Mayuri Farlinger — Alliant Energy
• Brian Frese — United Fire Group
• Deb Gertsen — Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust
• Teri Gibson — TrueNorth Companies
• Britni Gookin — Crystal Group
• Patrick Jackson – The Church on Northland
• Dennis Jordan — Alliant Energy
• Nancy Hill-Davis – Mercy Medical Center
• Jessica Horaney – Collins Aerospace
• Eric Martin — United Fire Group
• Kelley Marchbanks — Advancement Resources
• Linda Mattes — Alliant Energy – Past Chair
• Paul Morf — Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman, PLC
• Nick Nielsen — GreatAmerica Financial Services
• Michelle Niermann – UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s
• Whitney Pino — Van Meter, Inc.
• Dan Pulis — Cargill
• Diana Rodriguez — Alliant Energy
• Troy Sauter — Iron Workers Local 89 & Executive Board, Hawkeye Area Labor Council AFL-CIO
• Charlie Schimberg — Schimberg Co.
• Dave Shreck — Collins Aerospace
• Mindy Sorg — OPN Architects, Inc.
• Melissa Winter — Green State Credit Union

• Jon Bancks — Morgan Stanley
• Ray Brown, Board Chair — The ESCO Group
• Tim Charles — Mercy Medical Center
• Terri Christoffersen — Community Volunteer
• Loren Coppock — TrueNorth Companies
• John Dorfler — Wells Fargo
• Kathy Eno — Community Volunteer
• Rex Eno — Community Volunteer
• Jack Evans — The Hall-Perrine Foundation
• Jim Haddad — Haddad Consulting Services
• Brad Hart — Lil’ Drug Store
• Larry Helling — Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust
• Jared Hills — Divine Engineering
• Jim Hoffman — Community Volunteer
• Phil Jasper — Collins Aerospace
• Dick Johnson — Community Volunteer
• Frank Kintzle — Principal Financial
• James Klein — Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust
• Barbara Knapp — Community Volunteer
• Kevin Knutson — Holmes Murphy
• Chris Lindell — Community Volunteer
• Ann Lipsky — Cedar River Finance
• Susan McDermott — Community Volunteer
• Greg Neumeyer — Robins Economic Development Initiative
• Ron Olson — Paulson Electric
• Rue Patel — Community Volunteer
• Mary Quass — NRG Media LLC
• Kyle Skogman — Skogman Companies
• John Smith — CRST International
• Mick Starcevich — Community Volunteer
• Gary Streit — Shuttleworth & Ingersoll
• Dan Thies — OPN Architects, Inc.
• John Wasta — Matthew 25