MFLCares about Boys and Girls Clubs of Story County

Rachel Patnaud, Assistant Development Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Story County accepts a donation from Sara Fuller, Loan originator for Midwest Family Lending. Sara nominated BGCSC as our November MFLCares charity.

Ames, Iowa – Boys and Girls Clubs of Story County is Midwest Family Lending’s November charity and has received a $1500 donation through MFLCares.

MFLCares logo

Through MFLCares, Midwest Family Lending team members have the opportunity to nominate a charity they’d like to support. Sara nominated BGCSC because of she kept hearing of the great things they are doing for the youth of Story County.

“I nominated BGCSC because of how often I hear of the amazing opportunities they provide for the kids,” says Sara Fuller, Loan originator for MIdwest Family Lending. “I haven’t just heard it from one or two sources, I’ve heard time and time again how they are making an impact on the kids of Story County. Fun things like carving pumpkins with cops to basketball/football clinics with ISU players.  Endless fun times with the kids, making a positive impact on their lives.”

Their Mission:

To inspire & enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Story County provides safe & affordable quality after school & summer programs for 6-18 year old’s. They offer daily nutritious meals and snacks. Their trained, compassionate adult staff guide, coach, & motivate youth to grow & thrive. They do this through fun and engaging programs and opportunities focused on education, sports and recreation, the arts, health and wellness, workforce readiness, character and leadership.

The numbers don’t lie, the need is evident. In 2022,

  • 30% of club members lived in a single parent home.
  • 68% of club families reported an annual income of less than $50,000.
  • 61% of club members qualified for free and reduced lunch.
  • Nearly 100 youth attended summer programs.
  • Over 100 youth attended programs during the school year.

BGCSC are making a difference!

These numbers don’t lie either!

  • 1500 hours of academic, healthy styles and character enhancement programs were provided last year at the Ames location.
  • 500 hours at the Nevada location.
  • 97% of Club teens expect to graduate from high school.
  • 80% will submit an application to a post-secondary education program.
  • 75% of regularly attending members volunteer in their community, Club, school, or neighborhood at least once per year.
  • 89% of Club youth say they can stand up for what is right.
  • 91% of club youth report that as a leader they make sure everyone feels important.

How can YOU help BGCSC!


Get Involved

Attend an upcoming event!

Don’t miss the Denim and Diamonds Gala!

February 17, 2024 – Denim and Diamonds Gala – There is no better use of a beadazzler than to make your jeans sparkle! So, gear up! You will see firsthand the positive impact BGCSC are making on our future generation! You are guaranteed to leave this event inspired by the great things they are doing!

MFLCares is a program of Midwest Family Lending, a local mortgage company committed to creating customers for life and making positive community impact. Through MFLCares, we support and promote central Iowa charities. Check out our calendar to learn about the incredible organizations that are making a positive impact in our communities!

MFLCares about Boys and Girls Clubs of Story County!

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MFLCares about Canine Miracles for Heroes

Laura Ward, CEO and founder of Canine Miracles for Heroes, along with service dog in training, Titus, accepts a check from Earl Shedd, center, and Kyle Guldenpfennig, Mortgage Loan Originators with Midwest Family Lending. Kyle nominated Canine Miracles for Heroes as the October MFLCares charity.

In a world filled with countless challenges, there’s an ever-increasing need for heroes who selflessly serve our communities and nations. For many, these heroes come in the form of service members, veterans, and first responders, individuals who put their lives on the line to protect and serve. They often bear the invisible scars of their experiences, leading to a pressing need for healing and support. Laura and John Ward saw firsthand the need for such healing and support for the heroes in their lives. For this reason, they took a leap of faith to offer a beacon of hope through the remarkable bond between humans and dogs.

Several years back, Laura was attending the funeral for a fallen hero. The idea of training service dogs came to her, so she sent a text to her husband John. She sent the message not thinking it would be taken seriously. When John responded with “okay,” he also didn’t think it was serious. Their inside joke turned into a reality a little over a year ago, when their non-profit organization, Canine Miracles for Heroes came into existence. “We saw a huge need for service dogs,” says Laura. “We knew we could make an impact. It was a calling we felt compelled to answer.”

Their mission:

Motivated by the love of God, we are a non-profit organization that provides military veterans and emergency personnel suffering from PTSD and other trauma, with life-altering companionship through the placement of highly trained service dogs.

Here’s a closer look at how Canine Miracles for Heroes carries out its vital work:

  1. Service Dog Training: One of the cornerstones of Canine Miracles for Heroes’ mission is the careful selection and rigorous training of service dogs. These dogs undergo extensive training to perform a range of tasks tailored to the unique needs of each recipient.
  2. Customized Support: The organization understands that each hero’s needs are unique. Therefore, they work closely with recipients to identify and train service dogs to address specific challenges.
  3. Hero and Dog Pairing: Canine Miracles for Heroes goes beyond just providing a dog; they facilitate a genuine connection between the hero and their new canine companion. The pairing process is a heartwarming journey where heroes and dogs forge bonds that can last a lifetime.

The Impact

The impact of Canine Miracles for Heroes extends far beyond the surface. Here are some of the profound ways this non-profit organization changes lives:

  1. Improved Mental Health: For many veterans and first responders dealing with PTSD and other mental health issues, the presence of a service dog can be a game-changer. These dogs offer comfort, reduce anxiety, and provide a sense of security that is invaluable.
  2. Enhanced Quality of Life: Service dogs from Canine Miracles for Heroes help individuals regain their confidence and independence. They help our heroes get back out into society.
  3. Strengthened Bonds: The companionship and unwavering loyalty of a service dog can mend broken spirits and rebuild trust. The heroes and their dogs share an unspoken connection that brings healing and happiness into their lives.

How You Can Make a Difference

Supporting Canine Miracles for Heroes is an opportunity to give back to those who have given so much for us. Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Donate: Financial contributions help cover the costs of training and caring for service dogs. Your donation can directly impact the life of a hero in need.
  2. Volunteer: Offer your time and skills to assist with fundraising events, dog training, or administrative tasks. Every bit of help counts.
  3. Spread Awareness: Share the organization’s mission and success stories with your network. The more people who know about Canine Miracles for Heroes, the greater the impact they can have.

Canine Miracles for Heroes has a goal of helping as many military veterans and emergency personnel as possible throughout Iowa and surrounding states. Providing them with a service dog trained specifically for their needs helps them overcome the effects of PTSD. They will also provide training guidance to those military veterans and emergency personnel who already have a dog of their own.

Midwest Family Lending and MFLCares are impressed with the Wards and their dedication to local heroes. We’re not sure about you, but we think Laura and John are heroes too!

Help us help them save the lives of those who help save ours!

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MFLCares about Bryce’s Warriors

Derek Draisey, Midwest Family Lending Loan Originator and Co-Founder of Bryce’s Warriors stands by our charity wall featuring September’s charity, Bryce’s Warriors.

Every September, we step back and take a little time to remember Bryce Draisey. Bryce lost his life to dilated cardiomyopathy on May 3, 2010. In 2013, Bryce’s parents, Derek and Michelle, started a foundation to keep Bryce’s memory alive by helping others who are experiencing the same hardships they faced during Bryce’s medical journey.

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MFLCares is honored to help keep Bryce Draisey’s memory alive by supporting Bryce’s Warriors.

“2023 marks 10 years for Bryce’s Warriors. That’s 10 years of spending time with loved ones while raising over $100,000! None of it would be possible without the continued support of our friends and family, who’ve been by our side through it all. We’ve met so many wonderful people along the way who’ve become close and cherished friends.” – Michelle Draisey, Co-Founder of Bryce’s Warriors

100% of all funds raised for Bryce’s Warriors is used to help others.

The funds are distributed in a number of different ways:

  1. Multiple $750 scholarships to SE Polk Seniors. Recipients are selected based on their personal medical journeys or those of an immediate family member. Some recipients are selected based on their desire to pursue a degree in a medical profession.
  2. Gas and Food cards for families of children who have received, or are waiting for, a heart transplant.
  3. Children’s Miracle Network at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
  4. Iowa Donor Network.
  5. Annual funding of Thanksgiving dinner for families in the PICU.

Bryce’s Warriors has one main fund-raising event each year.

“We are excited to mix things up a bit this year with a new fundraising event” says Michelle. The Bryce Draisey Memorial Bags Tournament, 9/30/23 at the Shootout Saloon in Dexter, IA. “This is going to be such a fun new way to raise funds. We’re hoping to see a lot of new faces as well as many of the same faces who support our cause each and every year. ”

It’s not too late to sign up! Late registrations will be taken up until Wednesday, 9/27. You can sign-up by emailing Derek at

We are so grateful for those many people who followed along with us during Bryce’s medical journey and since, supporting our entire family in so many ways.

Michelle draisey

Bryce was proud to spread his story to as many people as he could to create awareness for organ donation. In doing this, he also spread a story of love, courage, and forgiveness that all who knew him will remember.

To donate,
Venmo @Bryces Warriors, or mail your check to:

Bryce’s Warriors, Inc.
9237 Diamondhead Dr.
Dexter, IA 50070

MFLCares is a program of Midwest Family Lending Corp., a mortgage company located in Urbandale, IA.  The program was started in 2016 to create a conduit between our communities and the incredible causes within them. The intent of MFLCares is to promote and support central Iowa charities, to create relationships and partnerships with these non-profit organizations, and to foster an environment of service among our team. Each month, we get the opportunity to meet the real people behind these organizations, and we continue to be amazed! Monthly charities will be promoted through the personal and professional networks of our team.  Visit our website to see other MFLCares charities who are doing great things! 

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MFLCares about Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue

Midwest Family Lending’s Kim Hinrichsen, puppy Leopard, and Deanna Jarvis with Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue

Kim nominated Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue as the August MFLCares featured charity.

Kim Hinrichsen, licensed loan originator with Midwest Family Lending, loves all animals, especially dogs. So, it wasn’t difficult for her to find a charity after her heart. “I nominated Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue as my MFLCares charity because I love animals”, says Kim. “They are a great organization, they don’t euthanize, and all their dogs are in foster care. I just think they do amazing things for animals!” And that, in a nutshell, is the mission of this 501.c. 3 nonprofit.

More formally, Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue is a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and placing them in loving forever homes.

Did you see “volunteer-powered”? Impressively, they operate as a 100% volunteer driven organization!

Noah’s Hope envisions a world where all animals are spayed and neutered and where all pets have responsible families and loving homes. With an average of 500-600 adoptions per year, they are working diligently toward this goal.

Looking to adopt? Meet Curtis…

Curtis 1
He is a loyal, protective, and playful, house-trained cattle dog.
He loves other dogs, cats, and children.

Check out all their adoptable pets!

Successful Noah’s Hope adoptions depend on multitude of strong relationships with committed volunteers, foster homes, local veterinarians, trainers, and boarding facilities. Through these relationships, hundreds of animals every year are provided loving temporary care while waiting for their well-matched, carefully screened forever homes.

Noah’s Hope is very appreciative of the generosity shown by their donors and supporters. There are a number of ways you can help:

  1. Spread the word! Share information about Noah’s Hope with your family, friends, co-workers, or anyone interested in adopting a pet.
  2. Donate! It’s as easy as clicking the link.
  3. Join or organize an event
  4. Follow their Facebook page and keep yourself updated with their latest adoptables!

MFLCares about Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue

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MFLCares about HDSA

Can you imagine a disease described as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s… simultaneously. It’s hard to imagine anything worse. This is the description some have used to describe Huntington’s disease (HD). And one of our own is way too connected with this disease.

Midwest Family Lending’s Eric Smith has close ties with HD. Eric has already lost one brother to the neurodegenerative disease. His other three siblings are suffering different stages of HD as well. It’s not uncommon for this to happen in a family. In fact, HD is a genetic disease. Every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene that causes the disease.

Eric has seen first-hand the burden of HD. The burden on the afflicted; the burden on the family. It’s a very difficult disease to navigate. The burden can be lightened with the help of the HDSA community.

HDSA Iowa Chapter Mission: To improve the lives of everyone affected by Huntington’s disease and their families.

HDSA Iowa Chapter was established to help the HD community. They have amazing resources to help inform and guide along the HD journey. They provide avenues for education and research, support for patients and families, and a community of people who understand because they are navigating HD as well.

HD families don’t have to walk this road alone.

Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence provides a multidisciplinary team approach to Huntington’s disease care. Patients benefit from expert neurologists, psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, counselors and other professionals who have extensive experience working with HD families. 

Building the HD community is monumental in getting the attention and the priority of the research facilities and the drug companies. Currently, there are approximately 41,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. As awareness grows, more people join the community. With a greater community comes a louder voice, increasing the chances of seeing breakthroughs in medicines that can help slow, stop, and possibly even reverse the symptoms of HD.

Family and friends join the Smith family at the HDSA walk.

How can we help?

Joining a fundraising event is a great way to meet people in the HD community, educate ourselves on HD, and have some fun doing it! Check out these upcoming HD events:

Saturday, July 29th, Atlantic, IA Putt Out HD Mini Golf

Saturday, August 12th, Jester Park, Grahlman Charity Golf Tournament

Saturday, October 28th, HD Education Day and Gala

Give your time: Volunteer Opportunities

Give your money: Donate

MFLCares about HDSA-Iowa

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MFLCares about Tori’s Angels

Julie Dent-Zajicek, left, and Jackie Wicks accept $1500 on behalf of Tori’s Angels. Tori’s Angels is the MFLCares featured charity for June.

If someone told 5-year-old Tori Heckman and her parents back in 2010, that Tori’s dire health situation would have a profound impact on 1000s of people, they likely would have thought they were crazy. But that’s exactly what happened!

As an infant, Tori was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition. She needed special doctors in Boston to perform her surgery. As you can imagine, this was going to place financial strain on her family. A local church stepped in to help, and Tori’s Angels Foundation was born.

This non-profit under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is named for the community “angels” who generously supported Tori.  Tori’s Angels raises funds to support the families of children who have life-threatening medical conditions. Since 2011, they have made a life-changing impact on over 100 families, and 1000s of people. Check out their kids!

Below are some pretty amazing details about this incredible foundation:

  1. Tori’s Angels pays for all (ALL) medical related expenses not covered by insurance. This includes co-pays, deductibles, and prescriptions medicine. Also included are travel expense, hotel, and food during hospital stays and doctor visits.
  2. Medical billing goes directly to Tori’s Angels. Families don’t have to navigate being the “middle-man”. This is a huge stress relief to their families.
  3. Children are supported from their day of acceptance through their 19th birthday.
  4. The foundation has no employees, pays no salaries, and is completely run by volunteers.  100% of event donations go directly to help sponsored children, with no fees withheld. That’s impressive!
  5. Their Facebook page is amazing! Here you can stay up to date on the kids and families.

Tori’s Angels Foundation is very appreciative of the generosity shown by their donors and supporters. There are a number of ways you can help:

  1. Spread the word! Share information about Tori’s Angels with your family, friends, co-workers, or anyone with children living with a life-threatening medical condition.
  2. Donate! It’s as easy as clicking the link.
  3. Join or organize an event.
  4. Donate your time and talent at fundraising events.
  5. Follow their Facebook page, stay updated on their families, and pray for their strength and healing.

MFLCares about Tori’s Angels

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MFLCares about Time Missions

Marti Myer presents a $1,500 donation to Dawn Frederiksen and Rick Lee from TIME Missions. Marti nominated TIME Missions as Midwest Family Lending’s MFLCares May charity.

Our Midwest Family Lending team continues to learn about amazing Iowa charities. Some of these organizations have local impact, some reach out across the US, and others extend beyond our nations border. Thank you to Marti Myer for bringing TIME Missions to our team so we could learn about a charity that is making a positive difference across the globe!

Marti Myer, processor for Midwest Family Lending, was introduced to TIME Mission by her cousin, Dawn Fredriksen. She nominated this foundation because she wanted to learn more about how their missions are making a difference around the world.  “I was impressed with TIME Missions because they provide an opportunity for all ages to share the word of God through their mission trips,” says Marti. “It’s awesome that during these trips they create relationships with locals by assisting in building structures, providing school supplies, etc. I wanted to learn more, and wanted our team to hear about the amazing things they do.”

TIME Missions organizes and facilitates mission trips serving communities in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba and Haiti.

If you’re a dentist or doctor, pastor or teacher, coach or athlete, or a person who simply wants to break bread with others around the world, TIME Missions is for you!  TIME handles all the necessary screening, coordinating and facilitating so that volunteers from Des Moines can have efficient and productive opportunity to serve others with the assets they have been given in their lives.

Midwest Family Lending Cares about TIME Missions!

“TIME’s mission to connect and construct community around the world will be greatly enhanced by this new partnership with Midwest Family Lending Corporation,” says Rick Lee, Director of TIME Missions. “As TIME continues to perform its purpose statement, a partnership with MFLC through MFLCares helps build our community here at the home office in Des Moines.  We are so thankful for this opportunity to come talk to the MFLC team, and the bonus of a financial gift shows they are intentional about community and put action behind words.”

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Thank you, Rick for the kind words, and Marti for introducing TIME Missions to our team! We are impressed with the passion Rick and Dawn have for this ministry, and the impact they are making across the globe!

MFLCares about Time Missions

“This blessing from MFLCares will help supply a scholarship or an airline ticket for a local youth to go on a “first missions’ trip.”  Our partnerships with other non-profits around Des Moines and Iowa give the dollars from MFLCares the ability to change cultural perspective and enhance more than one person’s life both here in Des Moines and across oceans.”

Rick Lee, Director TIME Missions.
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Should You Hire a Professional Stager When Selling Your Home?

One of the intimidating things about putting your home on the market is the knowledge that total strangers will soon be traipsing through your house judging every part of it. Even if you are a Marie Kondo-level cleaner and organizer, you may wonder if your home will look good enough to draw the best possible price.

Home stagers understand your fear, and they’re here to help. They bring an impartial view to your house and see it through the eyes of a buyer. With services that range from simple decluttering and room organization to transforming the home with rental furniture and new décor, staging companies provide expert service when it comes to real estate marketing. And statistics show how much this can impact the home selling experience. Consider this:

This is why many sellers see home staging as a sound investment, and why it’s worth learning more about the process.

What Staging Is (and Isn’t)

Home stagers use design and organization to maximize your home’s appeal to potential buyers. This may involve painting walls, rearranging furniture, and moving excess belongings to storage to create more space. (For example, reducing the number of clothes in a closet makes the closet look significantly bigger, and thus more appealing.) It also puts a strong emphasis on removing clutter and clearing surface areas to give the space a clean, organized look.

In some cases, stagers may advise moving out some (or all) of the furniture in a room and replacing it with rental furniture to enhance the look of the space. This isn’t a reflection of your decorating taste, though! A big, comfortable couch is essential to enjoying your family’s movie nights, but if the couch is out of proportion to the room, a homebuyer will feel like the space is too small.

A stager can help you find rental furniture that makes rooms look spacious and functional, and they may be able to lend you certain decorative items (like wall art or artificial plants) as part of their service. However, you would pay the cost of the rental furniture, storage space, and transportation of items.

The main goal of staging is to allows prospective buyers to visualize themselves living in your space. When done correctly, staging:

  • Makes rooms look bigger
  • Presents a clean, organized look
  • Enhances functionality of each room and showcases the potential of awkward spaces, like an under-stair closet or a narrow living room
  • Depersonalizes the home so the buyer can imagine how it will look with their furniture, artwork, and paint colors

What staging doesn’t do is to trick buyers about any aspects of the house. For example, stagers won’t place a washing machine where there’s no water hookups. But by bringing in specific furnishings, a stager can make even the most awkward space look attractive and functional. The final effect doesn’t look staged … it just looks like a place where everything fits together.

The Financial Bottom Line

Costs vary by location, market conditions, time of year, and level of service provided. According to HomeAdvisor, the typical range nationwide is between $770 and $2,863, with an average of $1,766. Many factors affect cost, including:

  • House size
  • Location
  • Whether your home is occupied
  • Furniture purchase or rental (if needed)
  • Repairs or cosmetic changes suggested by the stager, like painting

You can reduce costs by staging only certain high-profile rooms, like kitchens and living rooms, or by skipping renovations that the stager suggests. Consult with two or three companies (costs may range from $150 to $600 per consult), and compare prices and services to make sure you get the best deal.[2]

To Stage or Not to Stage?

Unfortunately, like most decisions, there’s no universal answer. Consider these factors, and feel free to ask your real estate professional about their experience and recommendations. There’s no right or wrong answer here … just what works for you and helps lessen your home selling stress!


  • Stagers are design pros who can help you arrange your furnishings (or rented/borrowed items) in a way that’s perfect for your home’s configuration.
  • You get an objective (and trained) eye to identify problem areas that may deter buyers.
  • Rented furniture may be in better condition or of higher quality than what you currently own, and it allows you to incorporate the most on-trend designs.
  • The staging process removes clutter and makes rooms look more spacious.
  • Staged homes look better in photos for online listings, which may increase showings and get the home sold faster.


  • The cost, both for staging and (if applicable) storage, must be paid out of pocket before your home sells and decreases your net profit.
  • Because you’ll need to move some belongings before staging, you’ll have to start packing sooner.
  • You’ll have to move belongings twice if you don’t have a new home yet.
  • If your current furniture is hiding any imperfections (like scratched flooring), staging might reveal them. That may create unplanned repair projects.
  • Staging adds an additional planning step that takes time. Your home may sell faster, but it may be delayed getting on the market.

Contact Midwest Family Lending with further questions. (515) 252-7107 or email


[1] National Association of Realtors®, “NAR Finds Home Staging Helps Buyers Visualize, Homes Sell Faster,” April 6, 2021.
[2] HomeAdvisor, “How Much Does Home Staging Cost?”, August 12, 2022.

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MFLCares about Autism Society of Iowa

Jacob Pleggenkuhle along with his dad, Jason, present a $1,500 donation to Kris Steinmetz and Erin Enyart from the Autism Society of Iowa. Jason nominated Autism Society of Iowa as Midwest Family Lending’s MFLCares April charity.

Chances are that most of us know someone, who in some way, is impacted by autism. Our teammate and friend, Jason Pleggenkuhle, Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator with Midwest Family Lending, has been directly impacted by autism. “Our son struggled with social emotional development. We discovered that he was on the autism spectrum when in elementary school,” says Jason. After he and his wife, Jacki took appropriate measures to make sure their son was getting the help and support he needed, they started seeing a huge difference in Jacob’s socialization with others. Jason nominated Autism Society of Iowa because they assist families in finding resources that help children develop and flourish.

“To be selected as an MFLCares Charity is a great privilege, and we were so pleased and surprised to receive the call from Jason Pleggenkuhl,” says Kris Steinmetz, Executive Director of Autism Society of Iowa.  “To be recognized and given the ability to share how we help those with Autism in Iowa is an honor, and we are very humbled to receive this award.”

You are very welcome Kris, but the thanks goes to YOU!

When you hear of the Autism Society of Iowa, you probably think of a pretty big organization with quite a few staff members. They are, after all, serving the ENTIRE state of Iowa by creating connections to empower everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully.  They exist to serve the Iowa Autism community through advocacy, community programming, and creating a more inclusive world.  That’s a pretty big mission! That should take a lot of people! Right? That’s what we thought!

We couldn’t have been more wrong! The Autism Society of Iowa has 2 staff members. You heard it, 2! Two! Deuce! Kris Steinmetz the Executive Director, and Erin Enyart, Treasurer and Co-Director. These two amazing ladies, who have both been personally impacted by autism in their families, run the entire show, along with a pretty impressive board.

Let’s see what they are doing!

Creating connections

They host zoom networking and support groups for adults with Autism, high school students, and parents and caregivers.  They provide the book Navigating Iowa’s System of Care:  A Caregivers Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders to families who have a newly diagnosed child.


They host educational opportunities, including educational conferences, lunch and learns, and an employment conference for adults with Autism.  They also co-host a conference each year with the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital Autism Center. This year it will be on profound Autism.


The Autism Advocacy and Acceptance Day at the Iowa State Capitol is a wonderful event where they hand out shirts and have a rally with legislators. This is followed by an advocacy training session and opportunity for those in attendance to meet their legislators. 


They offer four college scholarships, family grants to pay for extracurricular activities, camps, or classes, and have a monthly newsletter that includes Autism specific information each month.

Providing opportunities

They rent local swimming pools for individuals with autism, their families and caregivers, so they can swim without the distractions of a typical swimming environment.

To say the least, we couldn’t be more impressed with the Autism Society of Iowa! They are making a difference in the lives of those impacted by autism. Did we mention they do all this with TWO PEOPLE! In addition, 93% of their budget goes back into the community. Dang! It’s hard not to want to jump in and help!

Thank you Kris, Erin, and your Board Members! Thank you for educating us! Thank you for making lives better!

Thanks to Autism Society of Iowa, and the many organizations they work with, kids and adults with autism can flourish in this world. They can succeed. In the words of Jason, “the Autism Society of Iowa helps families find resources like the ones we used for helping children develop and flourish. We are so proud of our son who has successfully graduated from high school and earned Liberal Arts and Animation degrees. Our son is smart, loving, talented, and has so much to offer the world – just like others with autism and autism disorders.” 

MFLCares about Autism Society of Iowa!

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MFLCares about Team RunFree

Midwest Family Lending’s Mark Engleman, right, presents Kevin Hircock founder of Team RunFree with a $1,500 donation through the MFLCares program.

Adel, Iowa – You will be hard pressed to find anything more heartwarming than watching a navigator push a captain in a road race. There are few things more inspiring than seeing a blind athlete run alongside a guide runner. Thanks to Kevin Hircock and his foundation Team RunFree, touching and inspiring scenes like this can be found throughout the road race circuit in Central Iowa.

“Adaptive running is not common in most communities throughout the U.S. That is the case in Iowa as well,” says Kevin Hircock, founder of Team RunFree. “Largely, the special needs community is very underserved in this area.”

May be an image of 3 people, people standing and outdoors

Inspired by Dick Hoyt, who pushed his quadriplegic son in races ranging from 5K to Ironman, Kevin had a vision of enabling those with physical disabilities here in Central Iowa to experience the sights, sounds, motion and excitement of running. In 2015 that vision came to life for some Central Iowa individuals who are now getting to experience the thrills of running, and the empowerment that comes with completing a road race.

“Team RunFree is 100% volunteer driven and 100% reliant on donations,” noted Kevin. “We pay all race expenses for those with special needs, and as we grow, the financial need increases. Just being considered for a financial gift is heartwarming, and we greatly appreciate those who partner with us financially.  Our true passion is to share our story and our heart with others. We want to inspire others to use their talents, abilities and passion to impact lives in powerful ways.”

You can support this wonderful cause! Click here!

May be an image of 8 people, people standing and outdoors

MFLCares about Team RunFree!

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Through MFLCares, Midwest Family Lending team members nominate a charity or cause that is meaningful to them. Mark Engleman, licensed Mortgage Loan Originator for Midwest Family Lending was made aware of Team RunFree through updates Kevin gave at their local church. Mark nominated Team RunFree because he was inspired by their story.

“Team RunFree reminded me of the Dick Hoyt story.  Dick ran several marathons and Iron man races while pushing his quadriplegic son,” says Mark. “I’ve always found this to be such an amazing story. Team Run Free is accomplishing the same thing, providing the excitement and exhilaration of running/competing in a race to those who can never do so on their own. I feel to be able to help with their mission is an absolute privilege!

To learn more about Team RunFree, see photos and be inspired, visit their website or facebook page!

MFLCares is a program of Midwest Family Lending, a local mortgage company committed to creating customers for life and making positive community impact. MFLCares supports and promotes Central Iowa charities. Check out the MFLCares calendar to learn about the incredible organizations who are making a positive impact in our communities!

Running is a great activity. When shared with others, it’s even better. When shared with those who cannot run on their own – well, that’s when the magic happens.

Kevin Hircock, Founder Team Runfree
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