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A CommUNITY of OpportUNITY

Central Iowa is a place of opportunity and collaboration! These two strengths have been combined in the OpportUNITY logo.

Central Iowa is an incredible place for opportunity!

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.

Our Community is a Great Place to Live

Over the last year, central Iowa has been applauded for a variety of reasons. Central Iowa has been recognized in new ways for being a great place to live and work. Awards include:

  1.       #1 location for millennial home buyers (10-15, Realtor.com)
  2.       #4 Best City for Tech Workers to Start Their Career (6-12-15, Computer Training Schools)
  3.       #5 Best City for Retirement (6-1-15, Bankrate)
  4.       Des Moines Leads U.S. Metro Areas in Community Pride (5-13-15, Gallup and Healthways 2014 survey)
  5.       #6 Midsize Metro Where College Grads Move for Jobs (5-12-15, American Institute for Economic Research)
  6.       #2 Best City to Find a Job (3-15-15, Wallethub)
  7.       #2 Best Farmers' Market in America (11-19-14, The Daily Meal)
  8.       #1 Up and Coming City for Food (9-17-14, Women’s Health and Yelp)
  9.       Des Moines - Best City for Young Professionals (8-18-14, Forbes)
  10.    #1 Up and Coming Downtown (7-21-14, Fortune)
  11.    #4 America's Most LGBT-Friendly Cities (6-11-14, Vocativ)

In addition, our community has taken great strides in job creation and improvement:

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and Des Moines Community Playhouse renovated

Facebook recently opened a $300 million, 476,000-square-foot data center in Greater Des Moines. Construction on a second data center is under way.

Drake University has plans to invest $65 million on creating a STEM complex on its Des Moines campus.

Kum & Go has plans to build a 120,000-square-foot, $92 million office in Downtown Des Moines. 

Microsoft is building a $1.1 billion data center in West Des Moines. This will be the second data center that Microsoft has built in the city.

Wells Fargo Arena in Downtown Des Moines will host the first and second rounds of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. This represents a continued push for the city to host major college sports events.

The city of Des Moines has approved plans for a Hy-Vee grocery store in Downtown Des Moines. 

Accumold, a global leader in the design, development and production of micro-engineered parts for various high-tech industries, has broken ground on its second expansion in four years in Ankeny.

Cultivation Corridor is providing messaging to highlight more than 20 agribusiness, agbioscience and agtechnology projects representing more than $1.83 billion in Central Iowa activity. 

The Des Moines - West Des Moines metropolitan statistical area (MSA) totaled a record $1.4 billion in goods exports in 2014.

The Homeless Coordinating Council and Continuum of Care will oversee the use of current funding for public art and little libraries.