At AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising, we believe in doing things that positively impact people’s lives in significant ways. So for us, the holiday season isn’t just about brightly wrapped presents and ugly sweater parties. It means giving each of our employees $100 to give back to an organization that has impacted their lives. In total, we gave $4,200 to 42 organizations. Here are our stories.
Director of Public Relations & Content Strategy
Iowa farm families feed the world and Iowa’s economic health is directly related to healthy growth in the Ag sector. The FFA Enrichment Center was designed to foster our next generation of agriculture leaders and provide the space for important STEM education and leadership conferences. I chose to give to the FFA's capital campaign in memory of my father, the first FFA president of his chapter. Because of the education and leadership skills my dad learned from the FFA, he was a diversified farmer at age 35 when he died of a brain tumor and successful enough to leave his wife and three young daughters with enough to live comfortably and earn college degrees. As the manager of our family farm, I’m proud the FFA continuously empowers more women to become leaders in agriculture.
One Iowa is a statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) organization preserving and advancing equality for LGBTQ individuals in Iowa through grassroots efforts and education. As a member of the LGBTQ community, this organization is important to me because their efforts go a long way in helping Iowans, just like me, live their best life. One Iowa provides training to healthcare providers, law enforcement, business leaders and others to ensure LGBTQ Iowans are respected in every facet and stage of their lives. The organization also promotes policies within state and local government that protect the civil rights, health and safety of LGBTQ Iowans. While not only empowering LGBTQ leaders through training and mentorship, One Iowa provides young people like myself with comfort and support when it is most needed.
The Cedar Valley has a rich history in wrestling, including the emergence of Waterloo native and Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Gable, who transformed the sport as a wrestler and coach. Our local history also includes a national championship team at Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI), and I would like to see a tradition of excellence remembered and renewed. Perhaps most important in the museum's recent capital campaign is a major focus on youth development, creating expanded space for youth participation in an activity that fosters self-discipline and the formation of personal goals. This focus benefits individuals, families and the Cedar Valley community.
My family lost our cousin, Nick, in an ATV accident in September 2013. He was 19. The Iowa Donor Network helps his memory live on through the gift of life to others.
Account Services Manager
I selected the American Heart Association because I've lost two grandparents to heart attacks and my father has had a cardiac ablation and benefited from advances in heart care.
I believe Iowa Public Radio is a vital, must-have community service in our state. IPR is my morning news and weekend entertainment. I value having nonpartisan news and enjoy learning new tidbits of information every day. I also enjoy listening to local artists and hearing stories about where I live and the people who live there.
I believe in their mission to enhance the tradition of excellence. I have personally seen this with my own children. They are the incubator for the bright minds of the next generation.
Director of Media
For years I have participated in the Christmas Angel Tag project. Pick a child's tag with their Christmas wish list and purchase something for their Christmas gift. It gave me so much pleasure to think I was making a child's Christmas a little brighter.
Kelli Jo Folkers-Whitesell,
Gunnar's Wheels lends K9 carts to dogs all over the world! When the cart is done being used it is returned and loaned to another dog. When my dog Sally fell ill and needed a cart, Gunnar's Wheels mailed us a cart right away! It made her life easier and she was able to spend the end of her life visiting the nursing home like she loved to do! I will be forever grateful!
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in January of 2005. From that moment on, I became involved with JDRF's Walk-A-Thon (now the JDRF One Walk) to support further research into Type 1/Juvenile Diabetes. My hope with JDRF's work, is that their research will make it so that one day there will be a cure so future kids won't have to deal with the burden of Type 1 Diabetes.
Systems Unlimited helps those with disabilities and mental needs by providing meaningful services, a vital support team, and a positive & productive environment. All of these things allow them to grow as an individual as well as a valued member of our community. Groups like this should not be overlooked in our area, and they deserve our support.
Goodwill of the Heartland, a regional agency for Goodwill Industries International, embodies the best of mission-driven organizations. Its creative business model and passionate workforce drive its mission to advance the social and economic well-being of people who experience barriers to independence.
Regional Fundraising Adviser
When I was growing up, 4-H was a very important part of my life. From showing livestock, to preparing working demonstrations, to baking apple pies, the lessons that I learned through 4-H are with me yet today. I am happy that I have an opportunity to give back to an organization that did so much for me.
Regional Fundraising Adviser
The Knoxville Library was the first client I started working with here, and I couldn't have asked for a better one. This project means so much, and not to just one group of people; it can truly be a transformative for an entire town. The people of Knoxville have been so generous with their time and money. The volunteers and especially Roslin, the director, have worked incredibly hard. I'm happy to do this small part to move them closer to their goal.
Co-Director of Finance/Operations
United Way's positive effect is widespread throughout the community. So many are in need. My contribution will help someone with something they truly need.
Meals from the Heartland's mission is empowering people to save the starving. The organization brings together individuals and groups to package food for those who need it. Food is sent around the world and country but also to local Iowans. I am passionate about Meals from the Heartland's mission and vision and would love to volunteer time and donate money to help save the starving.
Chief Creative & Strategy Officer/Partner
Libraries are the strong core of any community. Libraries are becoming the community centers and information centers of our designated areas. Plus, they provide an invaluable role in helping feed and nurture our children to be lifelong learners. Go into any library and you will see a concerned and caring parent helping a child read.
Margaret M. Whitson,
Digital Marketing Manager
This organization went above and beyond helping my son through some tough times.
I grew up living with my grandmother who was diagnosed with MS when my mother was a senior in high school. The support that my grandmother, and therefore my mother, required both physically and emotionally could never be put into words. I hope that this donation helps another family to know that they are not alone.
I became passionate about the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement after my mom suffered a stroke at the young age of 52, leaving her paralyzed on one side of her body. Although life will never be the same for my mom, she is a SURVIVOR. Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of women. By educating our communities and bringing awareness to this movement, fewer women and families will be impacted by the life-changing effects of stroke.
I like to fish, and love to fly-fish for trout. Trout Unlimited (TU) works to preserve cold water fisheries, where trout live. TU is a grassroots organization with local chapters across the country. The work it does, including education, directly benefits the streams, ecosystems and communities where I fly-fish here in northeast Iowa as well as places I've been fortunate to fly-fish and hope to fly-fish across the country. My support and involvement with TU helps to ensure there will places where trout survive and thrive.
President & CEO/Partner
As a member of the Create Great capital campaign steering committee, the husband of a teacher in the Waterloo Community School District and the father of children who attend Leader in Me schools, I’ve seen firsthand the impact the 7 Habits-based program has on students, educators and families. We are developing tomorrow’s leaders by teaching them the skills they need to excel in college, their career and in the community.
I've chosen the Alzheimer's Association in memory of my grandma. Alzheimer's affects an ever-growing number of people and we still know so little about what causes it and how to treat it. I am hoping that with this gift we can be a little closer to understanding Alzheimer's, so we can prevent others from having to struggle with this disease or watch as their loved ones go through it.
Chief Digital Officer/Partner
The impact good local healthcare makes on a community is substantial. I’ve received care at Allen Hospital all of my life, and I’ve seen the ways the community has benefited from their quality care. I chose to donate to the Allen Foundation’s For Allen For You Capital Campaign so they can continue to grow and expand their services in the Cedar Valley.
Research Strategist & Marketing Director
My grandma fought cancer twice in her life. She was a breast cancer survivor before being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015. Her treatment options this time around were limited - chemo wasn't an option due to an unrelated health condition, and traditional radiation treatments were out of the question because the radiation site was too close to where she received treatments for breast cancer. She benefited greatly from advanced cancer treatments in Chicago, where her and my grandpa lived for several weeks so she could receive treatment. She passed away in January 2016, four days before my daughter, her first great-granddaughter, was born. I'm donating to the American Cancer Society in my grandma's memory, so they can continue to research cancer and its causes to find more answers and better treatments for those who are affected by cancer.
One Vision provides services to individuals with disabilities, such as in-home care, employment services and facilitating community involvement. My family has benefited from the assistance of many caring staff members who have helped my sister over the years. I want to support the important work One Vision is doing in 30 Iowa communities, particularly for adults with disabilities.
As a lifelong animal lover, I love the work the humane society does to provide these animals with shelter until they can find loving homes. Animals are loving and constant companions, and they all deserve to receive all the love that they show! Our furry friends need a little holiday cheer too, and all the treats and toys!
There is never a good time, or an appropriate age, to be diagnosed with cancer. When cancer strikes someone who is just starting out in life, it can be even more heart-wrenching. Justin Junk was diagnosed with cancer at age 22 and passed away in October. He bravely battled cancer, while helping others as a Waterloo Firefighter for the past 10 years, where he worked alongside my husband. Justin leaves behind a beautiful wife and four small children. As someone who also was diagnosed with cancer at a young age, you worry as much about your family as you worry about your own battle with cancer. I am making my donation to the memorial set up to help support the Junk family in honor of Justin Junk, an amazing husband and father.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland works to expand access to health care for all women, regardless of financial status. In fact, some women qualify for free or discounted services. Recently, the organization has had to close several of its clinics in rural locations in Iowa and elsewhere. That means many women simply can't afford to see a local provider for basic care. Despite what many people may see in the news, Planned Parenthood provides a gateway into the health care system for thousands of women. No, I'm not a woman but most of the people in my life are. And I believe that it's important in today's political climate to keep low-cost access to health care readily available.
Director of Video Content
I selected this organization because I've seen firsthand the amazing care they give children in need. The patients, doctors, nurses and staff that we have talked to, for videos we have created, have really touched me. They are an organization that is making a difference in the lives of kids and families that have some pretty severe health issues.
The heartbreaking reality of hunger in our area led me to choose the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. A study issued in 2016 found that one in five children in Black Hawk County are food insecure, and nearly one in four children under five live in poverty. The Northeast Iowa food bank works to provide meals to families in need here and across Northeast Iowa, with the ultimate goal of ending food insecurity by 2025.
My love of working with children and my love for horses (although I'm definitely more of a city girl) came together when I started volunteering at ASPIRE six months ago. It is very rewarding to see the focus, determination and enjoyment on the children's faces when they are grooming or riding the horse. The beauty of the program is that the volunteers don't know what kind of disabilities or struggles the children may be going through. Sometimes I feel as though I have learned more as a volunteer interacting with such large, beautiful, yet gentle animals. Caring for horses is very expensive in itself, and they are in need of a hoop barn so they can still give lessons during poor weather conditions.
Director of First Impressions
I am so proud to be a Denver Cyclone! My husband and both daughters attended school in Denver, so this new facility means so much to our family and the Denver community. This money will go toward the finishing touches at our new activities complex, which is near completion. Cyclone PRIDE.
Co-Director of Finance/Operations
Libraries are more than just books, they offer people free access to a wealth of information that they often can't find elsewhere, whether online, in print or in person. It’s a center of community for millions of people.
Every family needs a pet. Every pet needs a family. Thank you Cedar Bend Humane Society!
Chief Creative Officer/Partner
Alzheimer's has greatly impacted our family. The aging population is fueling what some health experts call an Alzheimer's tsunami for which Iowa and the country are ill-prepared. Unlike cancer, there has yet to be developed any drug or therapy that will slow or stop its progression. Every dollar gets us closer to that goal.
Senior Art Director
Community Memorial Hospital in Sumner is a valuable part of my childhood hometown. It was so important to my parents throughout their lifetimes. Bringing 3D mammography to the area will provide state-of-the art early detection without a long trip to a larger hospital. Donations to this campaign will help them improve on the great work they do for that part of rural Iowa!
Digital Media Strategist
Every day, it seems like I come across an article detailing the rise of opiate addiction -- including in Iowa -- and the many challenges addicts face in finding help. ASAC is an organization that provides treatment and recovery assistance to Iowans affected by substance abuse, including opiate addiction.
Digital Media Strategist
My children are into music activities at schools. My youngest the plays cello in her middle school orchestra and definitely sees music in her future. Orchestra Iowa brings events and opportunities to the area that may otherwise not be possible.
Chief Fundraising Adviser
I choose the Mitchell County Regional Health Center (MCRHC) because it exemplifies the value we realize from critical access hospitals that offer modern amenities and save lives every day. MCRHC is currently conducting a $12.5 million expansion and renovation, which includes a $2 million "Rise Up" capital campaign AMPERAGE is consulting on. The addition and renovations will improve efficiency, privacy, overall patient experience and safety. I am particularly excited about the therapy expansion and new clinic.
Regional Fundraising Adviser
Joliet Area Community Hospice provides compassionate, quality care to those in their final days and supports their loved ones during one of life's most difficult transitions. They also provide their care and support regardless of one's ability to pay. They are simply an exemplary organization. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with them and help them further their mission.
Senior Regional Fundraising Adviser
When you are welcomed at the Catherine McAuley Center (CMC), it's like entering another world. You hear diverse languages and see people from many countries, including the U.S. CMC clients truly want to better themselves, their families and their community through the educational and supportive services they receive. Sometimes it's challenging with limited resources to help those in need from our own country as well as those from countries in much more dire circumstances than our own. At CMC, you can do both!