Starting in September of 2020, the Faith in Action team at First Unitarian will select two community non-profit organizations nominated by a church member/friend to partner with for a 12-month period of time, to give not only of our financial resources, but our time and talents as well. Each Community Outreach Partner receives a financial donation from the congregation (range of $4000 – $6000 is typical), plus volunteer assistance to help with one or more projects. To learn more about the Community Outreach Partner Program, including how to apply, go to

Through August 2020, First Unitarian Outreach Partners received 50% of the collections in the service offertory basket for 2 months. A minimum of two opportunities to be involved in the organization’s work were offered during the same 2 month time period.

July/ August 2020
We partnered with One Iowa. Their mission is to advance, empower, and improve the lives of LGBTQ Iowans statewide.

May/ June 2020
We partnered with Al Exito, a nonprofit dedicated to nurturing the potential of Latinx youth, and collected $2,134.

March/ April 2020
We partnered with Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors. (JFON) and collected $1.464.

January/ February 2020
Thanks to all who have supported HFI during this Faith in Action partnership and helped us collect $2,203. We hope you have a greater understanding and appreciation of homelessness here in our region and across the state.

November/ December 2019
We partnered with Lutheran Services in Iowa and collected $2,582.

September / October 2019
We partnered with Iowa Interfaith Power & Light and collected $3,105.

July / August 2019
We partnered with Urban Bicycle Food Ministry and collected $2,376.

May / June 2019
We partnered with Young Women’s Resource Center and collected $2,939.

March / April 2019
We partnered with Candeo and collected $2,886.

January / February 2019
We partnered with Family Promise, a network of 14 congregations who host families experiencing  homelessness and supports families with children in finding steady income and stable housing.  We collected $1,897as well as new washable pillows, some towels, and more queen and twin blankets to prepare for our next week of hosting in March.

November / December 2018
We partnered with Al Exito, a nonprofit dedicated to nurturing the potential of Latinx youth. Thanks to the leadership of Darcie Vandergrift and Gene McCracken we turned attention to the systems of racial segregation in our city.  Three Latinx youth shared in forums at our church about their experience, ten church members supported students with their college essays and nine people volunteered at Al Exito’s scholarship lunch.The $2,458 we raised for Al Exito confronted racial hierarchies through redistribution. Thank you, Darcie and Gene. Thank you First Unitarian.

September / October 2018
We collected $2,539 through our offering and contributed to the annual book sale. Volunteers with the book drop off for the October book sale. We also collected items for the health centers and educations programs in Des Moines. A bog thank you to Greg Benson and Tess DeBartolo

May / June 2018
In May and June, we partnered with Global Greens, a program of LSI that reconnects former refugee farmers with the land as they build their new life in the U.S.  Thank you to Karen Lauer, and John McDonald for leading these efforts for our church. We collected $2,710 through our offering and more than 25 volunteers provided over 200 hours of help.

March / April 2018
We collected $2,710 through our offering, 58 items for health centers, over 100 books for the book sale, and more than 40 volunteers provided over 140 hours of service and advocacy.  Thank you to Amy Knudsen, and John McDonald for leading these efforts for our church.

family-promise-logo January / February 2018
Together we filled 88 volunteer positions to provide over 264 hours of service and raised over $2300 to support families in crisis. Thank you to Sue Huber for leading these efforts for our church, to the Stimson family for donating their Wii games for the week, which the kids loved, and a special thanks to Becky Evans who filled 13 volunteer slots, providing over 50 hours of service.

November / December 2017
We partnered with Project Iowa, a nonprofit this church helped found, to connect under- and unemployed people seeking a living wage with employers seeking workers, thereby transforming lives and benefiting communities. Through this partnership, 18 people from our church supported several events with Project Iowa and as a congregation we donated $3761. Thank you to Denise Rathman and Kate Allen for organizing these efforts in our church.

September / October 2017
Twenty-six UU’s volunteered over 200 hours to an interfaith build with Habitat for Humanity. Thank you to David Dubose, Gene McCracken and John McDonald for leading these efforts for our church, Additionally, the congregation donated $2419 to Habitat for Humanity during September & October.

July / August 2017
We partnered with Des Moines Area Religious Council, whose interfaith mission is to meet basic human needs for the greater Des Moines community. Thirty-two volunteers showed up to help collect produce at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market for the DMARC Food Pantry and to help stock items at the Food Pantry. We donated $2276 to DMARC to support their work.

May / June 2017
Information to come soon.

March / April 2017
We donated $3763 to support the work of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Members attended a PPH forum, participated in lobby day at the Capital, and donated books and items for use in clinics. We don’t have an exact number of volunteers this time around because people signed up directly with Planned Parenthood for the book sale, but we’ve been told every time someone went to volunteer, it felt like you were surrounded by First Unitarian.

January / February 2017
We donated $3021 to support the work of Iowa Justice for our Neighbors. At two IJFON legal clinics, 15 UU volunteers provided a light meal and/or assisted clients with filling out intake forms necessary for the immigration attorney to provide advice and counsel.

November / December 2016
We donated $3263 to support the work of Crossroads of Iowa. Two forums were held to teach others about the important work Crossroads is doing to provide support services to men and women in prison for drug-related crimes.

family-promise-logo September / October 2016
Family Promise is a network of congregations who provide housing and support to families experiencing homelessness. We hosted 3 families with 4 adults and 10 children from 10/23-10/30. Over 75 volunteers provided over 300 hours of service and we donated $2987 through the offering to support our work with Family Promise. First Unitarian will host Family Promise 4 weeks each year. Please see the SignUp link on the bottom of the homepage to volunteer to help for our next hosting week!

ywrc-logo July / August 2016
We donated $2535 to Young Women’s Resource Center and about 40 volunteers gave more than 105 hours by making meals and providing child care at YWRC.

LinkAssoc May / June 2016
We donated $2848 to Link Associates and 20 volunteers gave more than 35 hours of service by joining in on leisure activities such as softball, karaoke, and crafts, with the population Link Associates serves. In addition, the R.E. class made decorations for Link Associates’ Star Spangled Banner Dance.

March / April 2016
We donated $2233 to Central Iowa Shelter and Services and 19 volunteers provided 40 hours of service, to help support people experiencing homelessness. In addition, 36 bags of clothing and toiletries were donated by members and friends of First Unitarian.

January / February 2016
We donated $2847 to Family Promise of Greater Des Moines and 30 volunteers helped serve meals on 3 occasions, served as overnight hosts, and organized meetings to train volunteers and discuss possibilities of First Unitarian becoming a future host. In addition, more than 35 bedding items were donated by members and friends of First Unitarian.

EMBARC_Logo November / December 2015
We donated $2717.49 to EMBARC and 60 volunteers helped organize and host an end-of-semester party for K-2nd grade refugees from Burma, and hosted a potluck and ice-skating gathering for middle school students through the EMBARC organization.

DaysforGirls September / October 2015
Over $6,000 raised. Volunteers came together to sew and compile feminine hygiene kits for girls and women. We completed 145 kits and compiled another 35 kits just waiting for their carry bags.

July / August 2015
$2563.12 raised for Monsoon Inc. Twenty volunteers put in a collective of 100 hours working to build a fence and help improve the house Monsoon Inc. is preparing as a shelter for victims / survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities in Iowa.