New report highlights value of Greater Des Moines nonprofits during the pandemic

Nov. 16, 2021 null

The Disaster Recovery Fund COVID-19 Grantmaking Committee released a report today highlighting how nonprofits responded to central Iowans’ needs during the pandemic and lessons learned from the work.

The report – called A Caring, Connected Community – features nearly $1 million in investments the Disaster Recovery Fund made over the past 18 months to support nonprofits’ work in three areas: safety net services, unmet needs, and long-term recovery and rebuilding strategies. It also shares stories of collective efforts to address issues, including hunger, housing, and education, and within the Latinx and refugee communities.

“Our nonprofits were at the forefront of our community’s response to the pandemic,” said Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Chief Community Impact Officer at the Community Foundation. “This report demonstrates the compassion, hard work, innovation, and collaboration of this sector—and the importance in continuing to invest in their efforts to lessen the long-term impacts of the pandemic on our community. So many funders were willing to dare greatly and take bold action during this time to ensure our nonprofits could respond to people’s needs.”

The Disaster Recovery Fund was created as part of central Iowa’s community-wide, crisis response structure so that donors could help address immediate and long-term unmet needs that could arise during a disaster. For this disaster, a COVID-19 Grantmaking Committee of five leaders in philanthropy formed to guide the process of distributing grants through the fund. Investments have gone toward reducing the economic and health impacts on vulnerable populations, defined as people who were more likely to suffer disproportionately during the COVID-19 crisis because of pre-existing systemic, economic, social and health barriers.

“We all weathered tremendous stress and challenges during this time, but some people in our community suffered much greater consequences,” said Suzanne Mineck, President of Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, who served on the committee. “And yet, we witnessed over and over the ways in which our community leaned into relationships, honored the resilience of our residents, and worked resourcefully and tirelessly to meet people’s needs. This report is an opportunity to reflect on our strengths as a community and how we can work together to create a better future for everyone.”

View the full report here and a summary of the organizations featured in the report here.

The Disaster Recovery Fund Grantmaking Committee works closely and collaboratively with local nonprofits and other emergency management initiatives to understand the critical needs in the community to provide resources where they are most needed and to supplement, not replace, existing resources and services provided by nonprofits and local, state and federal agencies. For this disaster, the following representatives served on the COVID-19 Grantmaking Committee:

·        Sarah Boese, Polk County Board of Supervisors

·        Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

·        Renée Miller, United Way of Central Iowa

·        Suzanne Mineck, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation

·        Kris Schechinger-Camper, Nationwide Foundation


About the Disaster Recover Fund

The Disaster Recovery Fund was created as a critical component of the community’s collaborative Disaster Recovery Plan. The Disaster Recovery Coordination Team consists of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, United Way of Central Iowa, Polk County Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross- Central Iowa Chapter, IMPACT, Polk County and Community Family and Youth Services- Polk County.

About Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines improves quality of life for all by promoting charitable giving, connecting donors with causes they care about and providing leadership on important community issues…we’re simply better together. The Community Foundation administers over 2,200 charitable funds and distributed over $70 million in grants in 2020. Visit to learn more.