The Iowa Alliance of YMCAs has 26 associations serving 62 counties across the state.

For over 160 years, the Iowa Ys have been dedicated to youth development,

healthy living, and social responsibility.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF)

  • In rural Iowa, YMCAs serve as a community hub, but struggle to keep up with the infrastructure needs.
  • Over the past six years local Iowa YMCAs invested over $8.5 million in facility updates and improvements.
  • The demand continues, with identified projects totaling over $2.5 million for this fiscal year to meet the needs of local communities.


Request: To address this ongoing demand, we must ask for increased investment in the current public/private partnership with the General Assembly. An appropriation of $500,000 for the improvement of the infrastructure of these rural facilities is requested from the RIIF.  We also request a change in the language from "as determined by the 2010 federal census" to "as determined by the most recent decennial census".



Child Care and Out-Of-School-Time (OST)

  • YMCAs across Iowa serve over 5000 Iowa children each day in Child Care programs, operating 23 Child Care Centers and 20 Early Learning Centers across the state. Out-Of-School-Time programs are operated by 22 of our Ys in 39 School Districts.
  • Child Care and OST programs are an essential part of a community and school’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to play a critical role through recovery.  Ys are equipped to help children catch up and keep up.
  • 75% of the services are located in rural communities.
  • Access to affordable, quality child care is essential for working parents to enter, re-enter or stay in the workforce.
  • Our YMCAs experience difficulties in hiring and retaining qualified staff, keeping up with financial overhead costs, and meeting community needs.
  • YMCAs are working to ensure children have access to meals during the time they are out-of-school, including summer.  As part of our focus to ensure all children reach their full potential, the Y is committed to keeping kids nourished all year long.


Request:  Impact the accessibility, affordability and quality of child care through:

  • Enabling 16 and 17-year-olds to provide direct supervsion.
  • Aligning CCA, CACFP, and QRS paperwork.
  • Increasing Child Care Assistance entery income limits to 185% incrementally at 5% annually.
  • Implementing tax cuts and credits to incentivize business to increase investments in child care.


Water Safety

  • Drowning is the leading cause of death by unintentional injury of young children in Iowa. In 2018, YMCA certified swim instructors taught swim lessons to over 12,600 youth to prevent drowning deaths in all of Iowa’s pools, lakes, and streams.
  • Our certified swim instructors are already an underutilized prevention method in Iowa and the current shortage of a lifeguard workforce causes further concern. We can do more to prevent water-related tragedies.
  • YMCAs partner with 29 School Districts to teach water safety programming.


Request: The Alliance is seeking $100,000 to simultaneously increase the number of trained lifeguards available to local communities and strengthen Iowa’s water safety education and drowning prevention efforts.  This includes the cost of transporting children to the YMCA from schools.


Mental Health and Social Isolation


  • In many rural communities in Iowa, YMCAs are the one-stop shop for ways to improve or maintain mental and physical wellbeing.
  • As we implement social distancing and in-home quarantine measures that limit interactions with others to prevent or decelerate the spread of COVID-19, so too do we risk a toll on mental and emotional health.
  • Children come to child care and OST with unique traumas and challenging environments. As a result, their ability to achieve their full potential is already at risk and at times, so is their inclusion in our programs and camps.
  • Unable to come to the Y due to avoiding close contact with other individuals in order to avoid catching the virus and/or passing it along has caused a collapse in social contact for our Seniors and is negatively affecting those populations most vulnerable to isolation and loneliness.
  • There is opportunity to do better. YMCAs are well-positioned to support the Governor and General Assembly’s efforts to improve the mental health system for Iowa’s children.


Request: The Alliance is seeking $50,000 to provide education resources and coordination and execution for the mental health of our Youth and Seniors through:


  • Trauma-Informed Care trainings for Y Staff across the State to provide the appropriate level of support for youth.
  • Resource development and staff support to provide outreach to community members to combat social isolation.





                                                                      For More Information:

Wade Riedinger

Executive Director


Threase Harms

YMCA Lobbyist



Emilee Harris

YMCA Lobbyist