2020 Give Back Iowa Challenge

By Volunteer Iowa on Monday, February 24, 2020

NOTE: In response to COVID-19, Volunteer Iowa encourages Iowans to seek virtual volunteer opportunities. Get connected with a virtual volunteer opportunity here.

Iowa employers see high return on investing in volunteerism

Volunteerism has an enormous impact on the health and well-being of communities in our state. It has been shown to increase social connections, combat stress, reduce depression and give participants a greater sense of purpose. 

Many employers have recognized the importance of volunteering and have started incorporating service into the workplace. They recognize that employer-supported volunteer programs improve recruitment, retention and engagement rates of their employees.


Employees at Spencer Hospital deliver donations to Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc.

In 2019, 49 organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit, took part in the Give Back Iowa Challenge, recording more than 74,000 hours of service! The winners were:

  • Small: POET Biorefining, Hanlontown
  • Medium: Clear Lake Bank & Trust Company, Clear Lake
  • Large: Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, Riverside

SEE PHOTOS: Gov. Reynolds visits winning workplaces

Here are case studies from three past Give Back Iowa Challenge participants:

Clear Lake Bank and Trust

Honorable Mention in the Small Business category of the 2018 Give Back Iowa Challenge

clearlakeFrom volunteering in financial literacy programs in the schools to being involved in local economic development initiatives and museum boards, Clear Lake Bank and Trust employees logged more than 716 hours between its 100 employees during their first Give Back Iowa Challenge.

“People feel good about where they work when they know you are so supportive of the community in which they live,” said Molly Watson, director of marketing and communication for the bank. “At the end of the day just having employees that are more connected with the people they live and work with everyday is just a win for everybody.”

REGISTER: 2020 Give Back Iowa Challenge

Riverside Casino & Golf Resort

Winner of the Medium Business category of the 2018 Give Back Iowa Challenge

RiversideRiverside Casino & Golf Resort logged than 4,000 hours of volunteer time through their Winning Hands Employee Volunteer Program which matches its nearly 700 employees with opportunities, including Take Away Hunger, Tour De Cure, Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center and Habitat for Humanity.

“Having the volunteer program has helped teamwork and engagement between employees as well as between departments,” said Brian Goodman, table games assistant director and member of the employee committee. “We’ve found the program helps us from an attraction and retention perspective." 

RELATED: Top 3 reasons to participate in the Give Back Iowa challenge

Vermeer Corporation

Participant since 2015 in Give Back Iowa Challenge

VermeerIn 2018, Vermeer offered employees a variety of volunteer opportunities, including a Habitat for Humanity build, a reading to children program, a playground build at Lake Red Rock, a food drive and some mentoring opportunities. The company logged nearly 1,700 hours of service during the challenge period.

“Vermeer is very dedicated to the region where we live and seeing the partnerships that develop, not just between the employees, but even more so between the employees and the community.  It is deeply gratifying to us as a business,” said Teri Vos, community relations manager.


The Give Back Iowa Challenge, which runs from April 1-May 31, serves as a fun and competitive way to encourage organizations and businesses alike to participate in community volunteering. The competition is organized by Volunteer Iowa and presented in partnership with the Healthiest State Initiative and Alliant Energy.

Get your employer involved! It's simple:

  • Register your organization: volunteerchallenge.iowa.gov 
  • Track the hours of your employees
  • Record those hours on our system
  • Celebrate your employees!


Lessing-Flynn employees volunteer at Meals from the Heartland in Des Moines.