Class Projects

Each year, the Leadership Institute partners with local non-profit organizations on projects that provide meaningful leadership development opportunities for Community Leadership Program participants and help local non-profit organizations address critical organizational and community needs. 

Non-profit organizations may submit a proposal to be considered as a class project partner. Proposals are encouraged to present goals that address organizational and community issues that need problem solving, program development, or other involvement that requires creative thinking from a variety of individual perspectives. Up to five projects will be selected and 10 – 14 class members will be dedicated to each project throughout the nine-month Community Leadership Program. 

Interested organizations should understand the following requirements before submitting a proposal:

  • The project must benefit an existing I.R.S. Section 501(c)(3) organization and contribute to increased quality of life for the beneficiaries and the Greater Des Moines community. 
  • The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute will contribute up to $7,000 per project. Class members will not raise additional money for the project. Project teams may solicit in-kind donations.
  • Projects will be strongly considered if they require problem solving, program development, or other involvement that needs creative thinking from a variety of individual perspectives.
  • Construction project proposals requiring direct involvement in building, remodeling, etc. are strongly discouraged, though related projects that involve planning and consulting (i.e. needs assessment, marketing plan development, fundraising campaign development) will be considered.
  • The non-profit project partner must contribute to the project completion and agree to assist in the team learning process. The project partner's contribution may also include, but is not limited to, financial resources, donor network, board access, problem solving, volunteer organizing, and/or other specialized skills and resources.
Each organization selected will agree to:
    • Sign an indemnity agreement.
    • Leverage the diverse talents and skills of 10 – 14 program participants while being committed to their development as leaders.
    • Provide a dedicated point of contact with decision-making authority who will work with the class team throughout the project.
    • Attend a project orientation meeting.
    • Host a kick-off meeting for the project team, Leadership Institute staff and project leaders, and project partner leaders.
    • Invite project team members to speak at occasional Board of Directors meetings.
    • Meet with Leadership Institute staff mid-way through the program with the option of meeting with the Board of Directors. 
    • Complete the project by the class graduation date of May 18, 2017.

    Community Leadership 2016 - 2017 Class Project Timeline

      • Wednesday, July 13, 2016 – Request for Proposal (RFP) form open to area non-profit organizations. 
      • Monday, August 1, 4:30 PM – Question and answer session for potential non-profit partner organizations at Greater Des Moines Partnership, 700 Locust Street, Suite 100, Des Moines, 50309. Registration is encouraged.
      • Friday, August 5, 5:00 PM – Proposal submission deadline.
      • Wednesday, August 24 – Class members select up to eight finalists. Finalists notified.
      • Friday, August 26, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Finalist presentations to class members. Non-profit organizations are encouraged to block this time on their calendars.
      • Friday, August 26 – Class selects up to five project partners. 
      • Monday, August 29  Project partners notified.
      • Wednesday, September 7 - Project partner kick-off meeting.
      • September - May Project work takes place.
      • May 4 - 18 - Project report-outs.
      • Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Class graduation. Projects must be completed.

    Contact Matt Unger, Class Project Chair, by email or at at 515-771-5668 for assistance with proposals or questions about the RFP process.

    Past Community Leadership Program Class Projects 

    GDMLI classes have impacted Greater Des Moines through a variety of meaningful, enduring projects, including:

    Class of 2016: Small teams participated in projects assisting the following organizations: Joppa Outreach, Youth Emergency Services and Shelter of Iowa, Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, Eat Greater Des Moines, and Ronald McDonald House of Central Iowa. Learn more

    Class of 2015: Small teams participated in projects with the following organizations: Beacon of Life, Central Iowa Shelter and Services, Community Youth Concepts, Youth Emergency Services and Shelter. Learn more about each of these projects. 

    Class of 2014: Play It Forward remodeled the Courage League Sports facility and purchased a state-of-the-art exergaming system. 

    Class of 2013: Project Panda renovated a former hospice house to create a dedicated family grief center for Amanda the Panda.

    create the first, solely dedicated grief center in our community. This year's class renovated the space located at 1821 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines, to accommodate needed program expansion. - See more at:
    create the first, solely dedicated grief center in our community. This year's class renovated the space located at 1821 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines, to accommodate needed program expansion. - See more at:
    create the first, solely dedicated grief center in our community. This year's class renovated the space located at 1821 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines, to accommodate needed program expansion. - See more at:

    Class of 2012: House 2 HOME transformed the House of Mercy transitional housing facility. Watch the video

    Class of 2011: Project Encore renovated the Amos Hiatt Academy auditorium.

    Class of 2010: Give Back Des Moines activated a community-wide giving effort.

    Class of 2009: Almost Home beautified the Broadlawns Medical Center’s Mental Health Services.

    Class of 2008: Kiwanis Miracle League project constructed a baseball facility for special needs children at Principal Park

    Class of 2007: Kids' Kingdom built a children’s play area at the Blank Park Zoo

    Class of 2006: Turn on the Lights Polk County organzied lighting and landscaping at the Polk County Courthouse

    Class of 2005: Raise the Roof built a house through Habitat for Humanity

    Class of 2004: Beautification Project improved landscaping at Homes of Oakridge

    Class of 2003: Partnered with the Kurt Warner Foundation to furnish a Habitat Home for a single mother

    Class of 2002: Featured non-profit organizations on skywalk with booths of info about their organization

    Class of 2001: Class developed a youth leadership program for high school students. GDMLI's Youth Leadership Initiative continues to be a successful program.


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