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January 2022 Newsletter

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Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame Awards Nominations Open

Nominations for the 2022 Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame Awards are now being accepted! Nominations must be submitted online or postmarked by January 19, 2022; honorees will be recognized during a special ceremony at the Capitol in the spring. Details and nomination materials are online at

Induction into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame is the highest state-level honor volunteers can receive; the people selected have changed the community, the state, the nation, or the world through the gifts of their time and talent. Inductees are recognized both during a special ceremony held in the State Capitol Building and by having their names engraved on the Volunteer Hall of Fame plaque on permanent display in the State Historical Museum. Since the award’s inception in 1989, over 175 Iowans have been honored.

Any Iowa individual, national service member (current or alum), family, group, organization, nonprofit, business, or corporation, who has made a long-lasting positive and meaningful difference in the lives of people through their volunteer service activities, may be nominated for the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame.

Have questions or need assistance with completing the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame nomination form? We have virtual office hours on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:00- 2:30pm from now through the nomination deadline of January 19. Click HERE to join or contact Rebecca Gernes at

National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month, and Iowa Mentor, a program of Volunteer Iowa, is celebrating the annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults.

Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior. In turn, these young people are:

  • 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
  • 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities
  • More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team

Yet, the same research shows that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor.

National Mentoring Month is the time of year where engagement from community members interested in becoming a mentor is highest. This year, with the support of the mentoring community, we are encouraging the public to go beyond just digital engagement – and become involved in real life. Mentoring relationships are at their best when connections are made between a caring adult and a young person who knows that someone is there to help guide them through life choices.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities, visit

AmeriCorps State- Formula Funding Opportunities

Volunteer Iowa will be posting new AmeriCorps State formula funding opportunities this week HERE. The formula competition provides new applicants and returning programs the opportunity to apply for a grant to host a team of AmeriCorps State members for the 2022-2023 program year. AmeriCorps State grants provide funding to organizations to cover a portion of the cost of hosting an AmeriCorps program, including staff time to oversee the program, member living allowances, and program supplies. Organizations selected for funding will then recruit and support AmeriCorps members who will engage in service activities to positively impact their communities in issue areas ranging from health, education and economic opportunity to environmental conservation and disaster response.

All applicants complete a required pre-application. Based on review of the pre-application, organizations are invited to submit a final application for funding. AmeriCorps State grants are federal grants administered by Volunteer Iowa. Due dates for required pre-applications are in February or March with final applications due in March or April. Questions about the competition may be directed to Jamie Orozco Nagel at or 515-348-6233.

Let volunteering help you get a healthy start to 2022

Did you know that volunteering, in addition to helping your community, improves your physical and mental health and wellness? Improve your health and the health of the community by making a resolution to volunteer more! Start by considering what causes you care about, or what skills you want to use or learn. Are you interested in mentoring youth, supporting newly arriving refugees, helping the environment, volunteering as a family, using your bookkeeping skills, or gaining more graphic design experience? Next, find the perfect opportunity by using the search filters on Volunteer Iowa’s statewide database of volunteer opportunities - Get Connected. Search by interest area, county or zip code, skills required, timeframe and more. Then reach out, invite a friend, get started, and join the majority of Iowans who are already volunteering!

Words Matter, Actions Matter. Serve on MLK Day 2022.

The 2022 MLK Day of Service is almost here – and Americans across the country are rolling up their sleeves in service. Are you ready to get out and serve?

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is a defining moment each year when Americans across the country step up to make our communities more equitable and take action to build the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream. While Dr. King believed The Beloved Community was possible, he acknowledged and fought for systemic change. His example is our call to action.

Making time to volunteer for MLK Day of Service is a great way to engage with your community while honoring the legacy of Dr. King. Whether you plan on cleaning up a public space, mentoring a young person or engaging dialogue to explore ways to address inequity, foster inclusion and improve access, honor Dr. King’s legacy through service.

Looking for a way to participate? Visit Volunteer Iowa to search for volunteer opportunities in your area.

While much work remains to fulfill Dr. King’s dream of a Beloved Community, service can help unify Americans of different backgrounds and experiences. Through service we can build more equitable and just communities to underpin racial equity, expand civic opportunities, and foster respect for individual differences.

How will you step forward and serve this MLK Day?

Volunteer Iowa Day at the Capitol

Volunteer Iowa and Iowa Mentor host Volunteer Iowa Day at the Capitol each year to share with legislators the latest information on the tremendous contributions volunteers and mentors make and their impact in Iowa’s communities. It is also an opportunity to educate lawmakers about the impacts their policy decisions have on Volunteer Iowa programs and services. This year, Volunteer Iowa Day at the Capitol will be on Wednesday, February 2.

Staff members and participants from Volunteer Iowa programs including AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Seniors, RSVP, Volunteer Centers and Mentoring Programs, will share with lawmakers the impact their programs have across the state and will inform them about the tremendous program support and resources provided to them by Volunteer Iowa and Iowa Mentor. Commissioners and programs of Volunteer Iowa are invited to take part in this annual event to help us:

  • Highlight the importance of service volunteering in Iowa
  • Build legislators’ awareness of policy issues important for expanding our sector
  • Provide a venue for volunteer and national service programs to connect with their local legislators

The Volunteer Iowa staff create a handbook each year that can help attendees navigate through the process to prep for the day, reach out to legislators, and help with social media the day of the event. For more information, contact or 800.308.5987.

Now Hiring: AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

Volunteer Iowa is looking to add an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader to our team. The AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders program is open to individuals who have completed at least one year of full-time service with AmeriCorps or Peace Corps and is an exceptional opportunity to put leadership skills gained during their first year of service to work. VISTA Leaders provide peer-to-peer support for VISTAs serving across the state, create opportunities for member development, and work to raise awareness of national service opportunities throughout Iowa. The VISTA Leader will serve with Volunteer Iowa’s office in Des Moines but is eligible to be a remote service opportunity. Share the link to apply or apply today at

Future Ready Iowa Virtual Mentoring Available for Last-Dollar Scholars

College students pursing degrees and credentials in high-demand fields during the 2021- 22 academic year are beginning to enroll in Future Ready Iowa Virtual Mentoring. Once again, over 6,000 Last-Dollar Scholarships have been awarded throughout the state.

Students and mentors enroll in the career mentoring program on an ongoing basis. Expectations are flexible and unique to each mentoring match. You can help through:

  • Volunteering to mentor a student in your field (learn more or enroll here:
  • Sharing the opportunity to mentor a student with your personal and professional networks
  • Recommending employers or organizations we should add to our network
  • Sharing professional development opportunities that may be of interest and available to our students

Please direct any questions or connections to Jason Wiegand, Program Manager at or 515.348.6262.

Service in the News

Important Dates

Looking for a way to give back? Visit Get Connected today to find volunteer opportunities. Organizations can post volunteer opportunities on Get Connected as well at no cost.