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Central Iowa is a place of Opportunity, Innovation, Caring and Cooperation!

The promise of the American Dream is that anyone, regardless of his or her origins, can have a fair start in life. If we work hard, we can get a good education and achieve success. But over the last several decades a disturbing “opportunity gap” has unexpectedly emerged between kids (and families) from “have” and “have-not” backgrounds. The central tenet of the American Dream – that all children, regardless of their family and social background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life – is no longer “self-evident.” (front cover of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam, 2015).

There are many reasons to boast about our community including the growing construction of stores and apartments in the downtown and East Village areas, a nightlife that is attracting young professionals after hours, a community voluntarily agreeing to distribute affordable housing throughout their city, a strong refugee steering committee addressing the needs of our newest neighbors, and a revitalization of neighborhoods that have been in distress for too long.

Central Iowa is a place of innovation!

As Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the World Food Prize said: Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply. Iowa feeds the world and central Iowa is at the heart of these efforts. This is evidenced by the development of a robotic grocery store and a world-class agricultural sector that has nurtured a diverse, high-tech economy. In addition, we can boast about a continuously improved bike trail system, establishment of the Office of Economic Development and Industrial Relations to connect resources, and companies focusing on STEM- science, technology, engineering and math to insure future talent, centralized intake for homelessness, a beautiful Sculpture Garden and so much more.

Central Iowa is a place of caring and collaboration!

Since the 2014 OpportUNITY Summit, individuals have taken their part in seriously reducing poverty and demonstrated their commitment in meaningful ways.  A local business owner returned to work the next day after participating in the Summit and gave a long-term, low-wage employee a substantial raise.  Another participant accepted the challenge and wrote an editorial for the Des Moines Register, making a difference by using her skills and work platform. A member of the Leadership Roundtable connected with a participant and has committed to being her mentor after she graduates from college.