July 21, 2022

Janice Eggers, Iowa Department for the Blind

Michelle Raymer, Volunteer Iowa

DES MOINES - Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) was recently recertified as a Service Enterprise Initiative organization. Service Enterprise organizations fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills across all levels of the organization to successfully deliver on their mission. Less than 15 percent of organizations nationwide are characterized as Service Enterprises.

“Working through this re-certification process has allowed us to continue to expand our understanding of the many ways in which volunteers help us to achieve our mission of empowering blind Iowans to be gainfully employed and live independently” says IDB Director Emily Wharton. “Reflecting on the important role volunteers have played for our agency, we felt especially grateful for the folks who continued to volunteer throughout the pandemic. One particularly striking example is how two of our volunteer narrators read books over a conference line and held discussions to help library patrons to reduce isolation during the earliest months of the pandemic. They just jumped in and made it happen and our patrons reported that this made a big difference for them in those uncertain times. We are committed to continually finding more opportunities for volunteers to be a part of the IDB family.”

To be designated as a Service Enterprise, organization staff, board members, and volunteers must participate in the research-based assessment, training, and consulting. This process allows the organization to leverage the skills and expertise of volunteers at all levels. The designation, which is awarded by Points of Light, strengthens the capacity of nonprofits to leverage the skill sets and talents of volunteers to address community needs.

The initiative is currently delivered through Volunteer Iowa, part of a national network of Service Enterprise Hubs, which has certified more than 400 organizations across the country since 2012. IDB joins more than 40 organizations across Iowa that have received the Service Enterprise certification.

To learn more about Service Enterprise visit Organizations and agencies that are interested in becoming a Service Enterprise can contact Michelle Raymer, Volunteer Iowa Program Officer, or 515-348-6235.


About Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB)
IDB’s mission is to empower blind Iowans to be gainfully employed and live independently. We provide vocational rehabilitation and independent living services to people who are blind or have low vision to help them develop ways of doing tasks that most people perform using vision so that they can succeed in their careers, remain active in their communities, and achieve their dreams. We provide instructional materials in alternative formats for K-12 and college students and leisure materials to people of all ages who cannot read standard print. We know that vision loss is often perceived as a tragedy, but when people learn to use the tools and techniques and develop a positive attitude, they can and do live full, active and happy lives. For more information, visit our website at

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

About Points of Light
Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages more than 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year – we put people at the center of change. For more information, go to