Jami Haberl, executive director of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, says this is the sixth year for the challenge which has encouraged thousands of Iowans to donate tens of thousands of hours of their time.
“It’s really about getting recognition for tracking and reporting hours so employees can volunteer during the months of April 1st through May 31st,” Haberl says, “and those hours are tracked and then there are some winners at the end, just recognizing those organizations for doing great work.”
Employers in several categories with the highest average number of volunteer hours per employee will be singled out for a visit by the governor or lieutenant governor to their workplace. “The Give Back Iowa Challenge is a way for us to recognize employers for giving back to the community and also to reinforce how important volunteering is,” Haberl says. “Research continues to show the connection between employer-supported volunteering and improved employee engagement. We also know that you make a difference in the community.”
Over the last five years of the challenge, Haberl says Iowans donated more than 83,000 hours of service through the program.
“We need to recognize Iowans for the work that they’re doing,” Haberl says. “It can be subtle things. This is really an easy and great opportunity for employers to thank their employees for the work they’re doing. Just demonstrating how giving back to the community and by volunteering, that is one amazing resource you provide to non-profits here in the state of Iowa.”
A federal survey in 2018 ranked Iowa the number-four state in the country for volunteerism, with more than 40% of Iowans donating their time, well above the national average of around 30%. The Corporation for National and Community Service says Iowans are very generous with their giving, donating more than 75-million hours of their time with an economic impact of nearly $2 billion.