30 Years of Achievements

1985

Urban Dreams opens its doors on June 5, funded by $10,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the City of Des Moines.

1986

Urban Dreams wins four Iowa Community Betterment Awards for its impact on the Model City target area in Des Moines.

1987

The Junior League of America chooses Urban Dreams’ “Youth Touch” program as one of America’s best youth programs.

1988

Urban Dreams receives the Des Moines Branch NAACP President’s Award for Community Service.

1989

Urban Dreams becomes a United Way of Central Iowa Member Agency. Urban Dreams receives a 3-year federal grant for a gang prevention program, one of the first such grants received by an Iowa human service agency.

1990

Urban Dreams celebrates its 5th year of operation and service to the community on June 5th.

1991

Variety Club of Iowa donates a Sunshine Coach to Urban Dreams.

1993

The Simon Estes “Rainbow” Recital in November, initiated by Urban Dreams after the catastrophic floods of 1993, raises over $40,000 to be distributed to area human service agencies by the Des Moines Community Foundation.

1994

Urban Dreams becomes one of the sites for the Des Moines area’s first gun buyback. Urban Dreams and the students of Urbandale High School join forces in December to conduct a Christmas toy drive and distribution to inner-city residents at Urban Dreams. Toys are also provided by the Toys For Tots Program.

1995

Urban Dreams’ effectiveness in dealing with youth violence was profiled on ABC’s Good Morning America in conjunction with coverage of the National Violence Prevention Conference, then taking place in Des Moines. Urban Dreams holds an open house on June 5, in recognition of its 10 years of operation and service to the community and in celebration of a newly remodeled building. Urban Dreams receives the Des Moines Branch NAACP President’s Award for Community Service for the second time. TNT Landscaping of Ankeny and the Iowa Barbecue Society begin an annual tradition of giving Christmas trees and food to inner-city residents at Urban Dreams.

1996

Urban Dreams, the Des Moines Metro Opera, and other organizations develop a program to take inner-city family groups to a Metro Opera dress rehearsal performance.

1997

One of the families involved in Urban Dreams’ Family Unification Project is honored with a Hidden Heroes Award, presented by U.S. Attorney Don Nickerson, the Iowa Bar Association, and Youth Working for Positive Change.

1998

One of Urban Dreams’ New Horizons Program student workers is appointed a youth member of the State Juvenile Justice Advisory Council. The A.M. Rotary Club of Des Moines presents one of the families in the Family Unification Project with a minivan for their diligent efforts to turn their lives around.

1999

With the help of the Variety Club of Iowa and West Des Moines State Bank, Urban Dreams buys the building immediately north of that, which the organization had been renting since 1985. Urban Dreams, the Iowa Cubs, the John R. Grubb YMCA, and the Iowa Barnstormers, in collaboration with the City of Des Moines Park and Recreation, Polk County, and other contributors, create the Brian Melton Athletic Complex. This outdoor facility is essential in the development of the first inner-city youth sports league in 20 years.

2000

Urban Dreams celebrates its 15th year of providing service to the community on June 5th, with a dinner featuring Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and Ira Barbell of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

2001

Urban Dreams is given Mid-City Vision Coalition’s real estate 3 blocks from Urban Dreams’ offices after Mid-City Vision Coalition ceases operation. Urban Dreams and the Iowa Barbecue Society take a group of 40 inner-city youth to Wall Lake, Iowa to tour the Cookie’s Barbecue plant, participate in a cook-off, and receive an outdoor grill.

2003

Urban Dreams begins the Full Service Community Schools program in Des Moines, funded through an appropriation secured by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin for Urban Dreams and the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation of Washington, D.C.

2004

The National Cluster Workshop for all Eisenhower Foundation Full Service Community Schools programs is held in Des Moines because of the success of the Urban Dreams Des Moines program. Urban Dreams becomes Project Manager for United Way of Central Iowa with respect to the reopened West Side Boxing Club operated by the Des Moines Police Department.

2005

Urban Dreams celebrates its 20th anniversary on June 5. Urban Dreams’ U-CARE Program results in Urban Dreams’ expansion statewide to Sioux City, Fort Dodge, Waterloo, Iowa City, and Davenport.

2006

Urban Dreams expands outside Iowa to provide services in Jefferson City, Missouri. Urban Dreams begins an out-of-school suspension supervision program to Des Moines Public Schools students.

2007

Urban Dreams begins providing remedial services, OWI substance abuse assessments, a legal education project, and expanded employment services to ex-offenders.

2007

Urban Dreams collaborates with Simpson College to create the Simpson Urban Studies Institute, which conducted studies on the effects of urban migration from Chicago to Iowa and on Iowa’s Minority Impact Statement legislation.

2009

Urban Dreams participates in the Access to Recovery program to enhance help and support provided to people with substance abuse problems.

2010

Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw congratulates Urban Dreams on its work in keeping Evelyn Davis Park safe during the summer.

2011

Urban Dreams is awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an urban food program.

2012

Urban Dreams organizes a community welcome for Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas on her return to Des Moines.

2013

Urban Dreams is a finalist for the Des Moines Register’s Aurora Award.

2014

Urban Dreams convenes a series of community meetings to examine issues of downtown Des Moines public safety.

2015

Wellmark partners with Urban Dreams in developing a 3-year plan for Izaah Knox to succeed Wayne Ford as Urban Dreams Executive Director and develop a youth employment and training program for Wellmark.

2015

Urban Dreams completes 20 years of collaboration with TNT Landscaping, the Iowa Barbecue Society, and Cookie’s Sauces to distribute Christmas trees, clothing, and food to area residents.

2016

Urban Dreams organizes the 7th Iowa Brown & Black Forum for US presidential candidates.

2016

The best is yet to come.