October 6, 2021

Contact: Betsy Shelton, Volunteer Iowa


2021 Iowa Nonprofit Award Winners Announced

DES MOINES, Iowa – Governor Kim Reynolds will speak at the 2021 Iowa Nonprofit Awards ceremony, which recognizes excellence in the nonprofit sector. The awards ceremony will take place at 12:00 noon on Thursday, October 7th, as part of the virtual Iowa Nonprofit Summit. The ceremony can be live streamed HERE.

In recognition of their outstanding work in Iowa’s nonprofit community, awards will be presented to:

  • Home Opportunities Made Easy, Inc. (HOME, Inc.), Des Moines, Nonprofit Spotlight Award
  • Iowa Gleaning Network, statewide, Outstanding Volunteer or National Service Program Award
  • John “Odie” Oates, Cedar Rapids, Nonprofit Board Leadership Award
  • Trish Roberts, Carroll, St. Anthony Foundation, Nonprofit Staff Leadership Award
  • Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley, Waterloo, Outstanding Nonprofit Collaboration Award

The biennial Iowa Nonprofit Summit is taking place virtually this year, from Oct. 5-7. The summit will bring together approximately 300 leaders of nonprofit and volunteer management organizations from across the state to provide learning and networking for Iowa’s nonprofit community. For more information, visit /summit.

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About the Award Winners - See information below

About the Iowa Nonprofit Summit

The Iowa Nonprofit Awards and Iowa Nonprofit Summit are made possible through a collaborative effort with: Volunteer Iowa, Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center, United Ways of Iowa, Iowa Council of Foundations, and the Iowa Mentoring Partnership.

About Volunteer Iowa

Volunteer Iowa and its partner agencies work with organizations and individuals on three main fronts. The first is to help agencies develop quality programs that use service as a strategy to fulfill their missions and address Iowa’s greatest areas of need. The second is to help engage Iowans in their communities by promoting service and expanding the volunteer base. Finally, the third area of work is to connect individuals with appropriate service opportunities by building the volunteer infrastructure. More information is available at

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About the 2021 Iowa Nonprofit Award Winners

Home Opportunities Made Easy, Inc. (HOME, Inc.)

Home Opportunities Made Easy, Inc (HOME, Inc.) is the oldest private nonprofit housing organization in Des Moines. The organization is also the only Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) located in central Iowa and has a long history of addressing affordable housing issues. HOME, Inc.’s work, and dedication have earned them this year’s Nonprofit Spotlight Award.

Over the past year, alongside many partners and a new virtual work environment HOME, Inc. quickly distributed $1.2 million in homeless prevention funds from the City of Des Moines and the State of Iowa. By working with these partners in an incredibly quick manner these critical funds allowed over 600 households to remain stable.

A unique component of HOME, Inc., as a CHDO organization, is that they are required to have at least one-third of the Board of Directors must represent the low-income community. This allows them to position themselves uniquely in an advocacy space and they have used that to their strategic advantage in several ways. Moreover, the organization also works collaboratively with non-housing partners to identify other important community housing needs.

HOME, Inc. has a deep commitment to accountability in a number of ways. As previously mentioned, their board make-up allows for greater understanding and perspective to better address community needs. In recent years, there have been a number of updates to their strategic plan to assure more accountability in board membership and leadership. An executive board position was added to recruit and address disparities in volunteer diversity. HOME, Inc. also produces annual reports to ensure goals are being met and outcomes are achieved.

HOME, Inc. has spent countless hours working to provide access, education, and understanding surrounding homeownership and community housing. Their efforts are incredibly beneficial in opening the doors for so many to quality, affordable housing.

Iowa Gleaning Network

Established in April of 2020, the Iowa Gleaning Network was created during the COVID-19 crisis to help Iowa’s hunger relief organizations fill gaps in existing gleaning programs and assist with all organizational needs. The success of the Iowa Gleaning Network and its efforts over this past year have earned them this year’s Outstanding Volunteer or National Service Program Award.

With assistance from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Gleaning Network currently has 8 AmeriCorps Gleaning Coordinators across the state. These coordinators serve at least 29 counties, including all metropolitan areas in Iowa. The Gleaning Coordinators lead volunteers to harvest from local farmers and gardeners then distribute that food to local organizations who distribute that food out to the community.

Last season, the Iowa Gleaning Network distributed nearly 25,000 pounds of donated produce valued at $57,000 to more than 65 organizations across the state. Moreover, they have already collected over 2,000 pounds this year putting them on their way to exceed the total from last season. The organization’s success has not gone unnoticed. The Iowa Gleaning Network was asked to present at the 2021 International Gleaning Symposium and to speak to their success.

The Iowa Gleaning Network is a dynamic and innovative organization by design. Program Development Coordinator Jayne Mecham created a unique digital system that allows the organization to be easily accessible and moldable to meet the needs of each community group. In addition to her digital work, Mecham applied for and won a grant from the Iowa Food Bank that funded gleaning supply kits she was able to deliver to each Gleaning Coordinator.

The access to healthy and nutrient-dense food that the Iowa Gleaning Network provides people who may not otherwise have it is incredibly beneficial to the health and wellness of a community. The Network was also able to provide a safe and meaningful volunteer opportunity during the last year. They have engaged over 90 volunteers who have given more than 800 hours to benefit their community.

With the work of many volunteers and staff, the Iowa Gleaning Network has opened the doors to so many to have access to healthy and nutrient-dense food. Their work not only benefits local farmers and gardeners but increases the health and wellness of the people they serve.

John “Odie” Oates

As a Willis Dady board member for the past 6 years, John “Odie” Oates has led the way in moving the organization forward. Oates has been on the front lines of the organization supporting its growth through partnerships, connections, and volunteer outreach. For those reasons and more, John Oates is this year’s Nonprofit Board Leadership Award Winner.

Willis Dady is a Cedar Rapids-based homeless services organization. The organization provides shelter services, employment opportunities, and veterans assistance among many other things. As a current board member, Oates has demonstrated a commitment to the mission, vision, and values of the organization. He works every day to get to know the staff and clients on a very personal level to help assist them in the best way possible. Oates is consistently asking, “What more can I or the board do to support our work?” Moreover, he steps up to do the work when needed. That work includes being an integral part of assisting the organization to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oates is consistently stepping up to make new connections with community partners, businesses, donors, and volunteers to advance and maintain the services Willis Dady provides. As a retired Air Force Veteran himself, Oates has been essential to the growth and sustainability of their veteran’s support programs.

In addition to work supporting the growth of the organization, Oates has worked tirelessly to support the compliance and standards, so Willis Dady can advance their mission. As the chair of the Board Governance Committee, Oates worked on a number of tasks related to compliance including board by-laws, employee handbook updates, and other budget-related topics.

Odie has provided so much of his time, work, and talents as a board member to support the growth of Willis Dady and the organization had benefited greatly.

Trish Roberts

Trish Roberts has been a vital team member of the St. Anthony Foundation for many years. The St. Anthony Foundation supports the St. Anthony Regional Hospital and is dedicated to improving the health of the people served by the hospital. Based on her hard work and dedication to the mission of St. Anthony’s, Trish Roberts is this year’s Nonprofit Staff Leadership Award.

Roberts’ leadership of the St. Anthony Foundation has helped establish clear goals and expectations for all stakeholders. Her work has helped establish and sustain relationships with the clinical community of West Central Iowa. Roberts has consistently promoted collaboration and productive teamwork, especially in her work with the Foundation Board of Directors, foundation and hospital staff, and the public. She has been instrumental in taking the various perspectives and talents of board members and applying them to maximize benefits for the foundation.

In addition to her work on the foundation, Roberts also served as Emergency Communications Director for St. Anthony Regional Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. She utilized the relationship formed through her foundation work alongside her communications experience to keep the citizens of Carroll County and the surrounding area well informed.

Roberts’ proactive and plan-based approach to leadership is best highlighted by her work on supporting a capital campaign to raise $7 million to build a Regional Cancer Center. By building a strong campaign she dubbed the “Building Hope” campaign, Roberts executed an incredibly successful effort. To date, the campaign has surpassed $10 million in total funds raised and was rebranded as the “Hope Delivered” effort.

Trish Roberts is an exceptional leader.  The dedication she has provided to the St. Anthony Foundation and St. Anthony Regional Hospital has been invaluable to continuing the efforts and care the hospital provides.

Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley

The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley (VCCV) has a mission to promote and support effective volunteerism and to serve as a resource and coordination center for volunteers and community partnerships. Their work collaborating alongside the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) to promote volunteerism among students and staff has earned them this year’s Outstanding Nonprofit Collaboration Award.

Since 2006, the University of Northern Iowa and the VCCV have been working together to offer volunteer opportunities. The partnership filled a vacuum left by the elimination of the Volunteer UNI Program in 2005. By 2008, office space and financial support were provided by UNI and the VCCV started offering services once a week. In recent years, the partnership has only grown with the VCCV offering services twice per week and a dedicated space for students, staff, and faculty to get started with volunteer opportunities.

The VCCV and UNI have also been able to coordinate and offer numerous days of service opportunities. These opportunities include Make a Difference Day, MLK Day of Service, National Volunteer Week, and Volunteer Tuesdays. UNI has also been able to host the annual VCCV Volunteer Fair that attracts around 150 students and 40 nonprofit organizations each year.

This partnership has highlighted just how beneficial a relationship between higher education and community service can be. In a typical year, the VCCV makes over 15,000 student referrals to member agencies. In 2016 the UNI Service-Learning opened, partnering 50 faculty members with 50 community agencies. The VCCV was instrumental in offering consultation services to help the organization get up and running.

The VCCV opens doors, energizes ideas, and is a constant support of community engagement activities between UNI and the Cedar Valley Area.