Faith in Action

Led by our Faith in Action (FIA) Coordinating Team, our congregation selects two nonprofit organizations each to receive financial support with proceeds from our Sunday service collection. Half of the weekly contributions support our own church social justice activities, and the remaining half is divided between our two FIA partners. Recipients are nominated by church members and chosen at our annual church meeting on the first Sunday after Memorial Day. We have proudly worked with more than 20 community partners.

Faith in Action Coordinating Team

Each spring, the FIA Coordinating Team solicits applications from congregation members for outside organizations to become one of our two annual Faith in Action partners. One of the criteria for selecting these organizations is that there will be opportunities for church members to be involved in community service and volunteer work.

  • Judy Davis
  • Steve Gilson
  • Jack Hackett
  • Hillary Hippen-Leek (special projects)
  • Harvey Harrison (Just Voices champion)
  • Gene McCracken (Knock and Drop champion)

Our 2021-22 Partner Organizations

Knock and Drop

Knock and Drop provides food to members of the Latino community in the greater Des Moines area as a response to food insecurity that arose during the COVID-19 shut down. After using First Unitarian’s parking lot as a distribution location for several months in 2020, Knock and Drop now has a permanent location at Franklin Jr. High in Des Moines. Roughly a year after its inception, Knock and Drop has provided food to more than 5,000 families and is a rapidly growing 501(c)3 Latino service organization.


Just Voices

Just Voices works to build a platform that educates, advocates, and collaborates to end racially biased policing in Iowa. In the spring of 2019, Just Voices created a website to house data and stories collected from Black and Brown people in Des Moines to document the struggle against racially biased policing. The website is a place where concerned citizens, like-minded organizations, academics, legal professionals, and others can learn about racially biased policing and its traumatic and long-lasting impact on the lives of Black and Brown Iowans. Additionally, Just Voices is working to create laws that ban racial profiling in Des Moines and across the state of Iowa.

Update: November 2021

Thank you, First Unitarian for selecting Just Voices Iowa as a recipient for your 2022 Faith In Action giving program. Our mission is to build a platform that educates, advocates, and collaborates to end racially-biased policing in Des Moines and across Iowa. We boldly envision a society free from racial oppression.

Using research and data collection, we know that there is great racial disparity in how Black and Latinx residents are policed in Des Moines. We talk to victims who have experienced emotional, life-changing trauma, not to mention economic impact from unjust racial profiling and systemic racism through the criminal justice systems. Through the stories, we bring the data to life in relevant and authentic ways.

Updated Data on our Website

Please check out our website . You’ll find charts and graphs reflect policing for the five-year period of 2016 through 2020. From traffic stops for equipment violations to speeding to data on the DMPD’s disparate enforcement of marijuana laws, it’s all there. What’s most disturbing is that nothing is getting better. Our conclusion is still true: Des Moines disproportionately polices and targets its Black and Brown residents.

We Could Use Your Help
In June 2021, Just Voices Iowa, published a report that examined the workings of a DMPD special unit known as the Special Enforcement Team (SET). The 35+ page report is on our website, too. Next up, is an in-depth study of the 2020 racial justice protests that happened in Des Moines.

As you know, there were hundreds of protests in the Summer of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. All over the nation and the world and yes, many in Des Moines. Peaceful protestors were met with police violence, military-level weapons, and many unjustified arrests. We’re going in-depth on what happened in Des Moines, but we need your help.

If you’ve got a few hours a week to spare, we need your help in our research of the 2020 protests. We’ll train you. We plan to kick the research off in early December. Thank you in advance!


How to Nominate an Organization

When considering a Faith in Action nomination:

  • You and your contact at the organization need to read the FIA Partnership Responsibilities.
  • If you and your contact person think this might be a good fit, you’ll need to work together to complete the nomination form and submit it to the FIA team by April 18, 2022, for the 2022-2023 partnership year.