Hawthorn Hill Homeless Shelter Spring Fundraiser

The Need Does Not End with the Holidays!

For the past few years Hawthorn Hill Homeless Shelter has been included as a beneficiary of the IAF Annual School Supply Drive.  We have provided general school supplies including backpacks stuffed with everything a child might need to assist in their education. Our 2016 donation also added a check for $500 for the shelter to use as they see fit. This donation then appeared in 

Hawthorn Hill’s annual newsletter which categorized the IAF along with churches, insurance companies, various business and individuals.

Because our 2017 School Supply Drive focused on science equipment, Hawthorn Hill did not receive a contribution from our group. Thus, we are instead having our first ever spring fundraiser dedicated to helping the good people at Hawthorn Hill! For our 2018 fundraising campaign we will increase the goal of our donation to $1000.

With your help Hawthorn Hill New Directions Shelter was able to assist 114 adults and 203 children in 2017. New Directions is one of only three homeless shelters available for families in the Des Moines metro area. We chose Hawthorn Hill as it is not overtly religious (you find no mention of religion on their website) and Executive Director Tim Shanahan has always expressed sincere gratitude for our previous years’ in kind and cash donations.

From their website: http://www.hawthorn-hill.org/

“Hawthorn Hill’s mission is to establish and operate housing programs for homeless families with children that help them obtain permanent housing and to provide services to help families achieve economic self-sufficiency.”

Hawthorn Hill fulfills its mission through two programs that assist homeless families with children:

New Directions Shelter: Provides free, temporary, emergency shelter and services for homeless families with children.

The Home Connection: Provides permanent supportive housing for homeless families with children with an emphasis on helping the families attain financial independence.


Spring is a time for new beginnings and Hawthorn Hill provides a fresh start for families that have had the misfortune of losing everything. This could happen to any one of us! We are all just one medical emergency, loss of job, or loss of a provider away from finding ourselves in the same situation. Please help today to make a difference in the lives of so many families. Thanks for your support!

Hawthorn Hill Fundraiser

$600 of $1,000 raised
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Donation Total: $5


IAF Sixth Annual School Supply Fund Drive-Science!

IAF Sixth Annual School Supply Fund Drive-Science!

Have you got four minutes? That is all the time you will need to read this missive and understand our goals for this year’s school supply fund drive.

For the past five years, the IAF has conducted an annual school supply fund drive, focused on Des Moines’ neediest children. Last year’s drive garnered a record level of support with $2356, but one experience served as a catalyst for change in how we approach our goal this year.

Toward the latter weeks of our 2016 fund drive, an out of state anonymous donor offered an additional $500, with one caveat: the entire amount must be spent on “science”.  Judging from prior fund drives, this was a generous donation, so we explored the needs of several DMPS schools, with an eye on the neediest schools and “science.” We ultimately purchased and donated two quality, classroom-adaptable microscopes: specifically, the “OMAX 40X-2500X Lab Binocular Compound LED Microscopes, with Double-layer Mechanical Stage and Digital Camera.” Both scopes are still used on an almost every-day basis by the science teachers at Hiatt Middle School here in Des Moines. And one of the things we noticed when delivering the scopes was need; the equipment our donation replaced was outdated, to say the least. We also took note of the reception we received; the teachers were surprisingly grateful and appreciative. From that point, we decided to focus our efforts on closing the gap between DMPS science departments, with sadly deficient budgets, and schools outside the district who appear to be far more fortunate. After working with the science curriculum department at DMPS, an effort that included interviewing several science teachers, we were able to identify several areas of need that seem to fit within our fund budget.

TELESCOPES: Nothing is more “science” than a telescope that enables students to search the heavens for what is really up there. The Orion Astroview 90mm EQ Refractor Telescope is surprisingly affordable – about $279.00 plus shipping. The director of the DMPS science curriculum department explained that “we offer astronomy courses at several of our high schools that would benefit from direct space observations.” About three hundred bucks would help open the minds and opportunities of close to 100 kids in one east-side middle school alone.




And should our drive be even more successful, another scope that would serve teachers and students even more is the Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (Hydrogen alpha) with 1A Bandwidth. This scope, costing about $700.00, enables solar viewing during daylight hours, expanding learning to many inner-city kids who lack the means to travel after-hours.






MICROSCOPES: The committee’s research into DMPS science needs revealed two things: first, the extent to which teachers are doing their best to teach with outdated equipment and miniscule budgets is astounding. Teachers really do reach into their own pockets for some of the basic tools for the classroom. And secondly, for quality science equipment to benefit kids, it should ideally benefit teachers also, and be classroom-adaptable. One such scope that would benefit many students is the Leica EZ4 W, an “educational stereo microscope with digital cameras” that allows students to electronically connect their personal electronic devices to the scope. Utilized for biology, earth sciences, environmental science, and chemistry, the cost is about $505.00 plus shipping.




STREAM TABLE: Not being teachers, we were unfamiliar with this device, but it would appear to be particularly suited to Iowa. The “Science First Deluxe Stream Table” is a classroom tool for teaching earth sciences, including study of erosion, sediment deposition, behaviors of rivers and lakes, applications to agriculture, etc. One teacher told us “most teachers would change how they teach if they got one of these.” The cost is $549.00. The potential for benefitting many, many DMPS students is enormous.

SYNOPSIS: When considering this year’s school fund drive, think “science.”  Please be as generous as you can afford to be. Help us teach DMPS kids what is really “up there” through a good telescope; help literally hundreds of young people learn about the true composition of matter with a quality microscope; give an entire science department a quality Stream Table, and teach a hundred kids about “earth science.” SCIENCE is part of what IAF is all about and the IAF will match donations up to $1000!

Thanks so much,

IAF 2017 School Fund Drive Committee


P.S. The donation phase of the campaign will run from Sept 15- Oct 15. Presentation of the science equipment to the DMPS system will be on Carl Sagan Day, Nov 9, 2017.

IAF Sixth Annual School Supply Fund Drive

$1,050 of $3,500 raised
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Donation Total: $10