Tools for
Regional Initiative 5. EVERYDAY STEWARDS
Sustainable Choices Reference Card

Stanford University School of Earth Sciences Earth Systems Program
Provides information you can use to make small changes that will have a major positive impact on our environment. Includes ideas for in the home, at the store, and on the road. Go to Reference

Ecological Footprint

Center for Sustainable Economy
The Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates the amount of land and ocean area required to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis. After answering 27 easy questions you’ll be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to others’ and learn how to reduce your impact on the Earth. Go to Website

Household Carbon Footprint Calculator

US Environmental Protection Agency
Online calculator to get a rough “ballpark” estimate of your personal or family’s greenhouse gas emissions and explore the impact of taking various actions to reduce your emissions. Go to Calculator

Natural Step Toolkit

The Natural Step’s Toolkits for Sustainability have been created to share best practices based on our work with thousands of corporations, municipalities, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations around the world. Our partners and clients have proven that moving strategically toward sustainability leads to innovation, new opportunities, reduced costs, and dramatically reduced ecological and social impacts. Go to Website

“Reducing Food Waste Basics”

Information for how consumers can reduce food waste, and the benefits of doing so. Go to Website

US Department of Energy

Tips for homeowners, vehicle operators, and businesses on how to save energy through small-scale interventions and large-scale interventions alike. Go to Website

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

Broad resource intended for many different audiences – residential, commercial, industrial; local governments (includes state-by-state energy policy information) Go to Website

1000 Friends of Iowa

1000 Friends of Iowa promotes responsible development that conserves and protects agricultural and natural resources; revitalizes neighborhoods, towns, and cities; and improves the quality of life for future generations. 1000 Friends offers volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Go to Website

6th Avenue Corridor

The 6th Avenue Corridor group has a mission “to coordinate the commercial revitalization of 6th Avenue through the historic River Bend and Cheatom Park neighborhoods.” The group works to organize the business community, to provide education and consultation about historic preservation, and to build upon the rich cultural diversity of the area. Interested individuals can join a committee, volunteer for future events, donate money, or share their ideas. Go to Website

Aging Resources of Central Iowa

Aging Resources seeks to allow older adults individual choices in their care process in order to remain safe and independent in their homes. Anyone can help by volunteering for indoor and outdoor work, friendly visits, meals on wheels, and more. Go to Website

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross “prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.” Individuals can donate; fundraise; give blood or host a blood drive; take, teach, or host a class; volunteer; get involved with a group or program; help internationally; or be an advocate. Go to Website

Anawim Housing

Anawim Housing develops stable homes and strengthens communities. In addition to monetary donations, Anawim offers volunteer opportunities for all ages and skill levels. These range from landscaping to photography to grant writing. Go to Website

Beacon of Life

Beacon of Life is a nonprofit transitional center for women with a mission of creating an environment that empowers women in crisis to achieve positive long-term change. Residents can offer financial support, buy an urban card, or offer in-kind donations such as gently used clothing. Go to Website

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters “provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.” Residents can make monetary donations or can volunteer as a Big Brother or Big Sister. Go to Website

Bravo Greater Des Moines

Bravo seeks to increase cultural awareness, advocacy, and funding, and it aims to foster collaboration among arts, cultural, and heritage organizations. Bravo can help residents find the perfect volunteer match for one’s skills and desires. Go to Website

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities “serve[s] all people in need with compassion and competence, advocates for justice, and encourages all people of good will to join in these efforts.” Catholic Charities volunteers help refugee families set up homes; prepare meals at the St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter; help at the St. Mary Family Center, food pantry, and clothing closet; and donate bus tokens. Further, the Social Justice Consortium provides multiple ways to get involved in Greater Des Moines. Go to Website

Center on Sustainable Communities

The Center on Sustainable Communities (COSC) is “a trusted resource promoting ecologically sustainable practices by engaging and connecting individuals, businesses, and communities across Iowa.” COSC facilitates multiple committees and hosts events throughout the year, such as luncheons, COSC Connects, and workshops. COSC also offers an online Sustainable Resource Directory, which provides information on building and remodeling products and professionals. The COSC website also offers information on green building, workshops, certification, and a calendar of upcoming local events related to green building and eco-friendly materials for construction. Go to Website

Central Iowa Center for Independent Living

The Central Iowa Center for Independent Living (CICIL) is a community-based, non-profit, non-residential program that serves persons with disabilities. CICIL “empower[s] individuals with disabilities to control their lives” and offers numerous volunteer opportunities based on the talents of the volunteer. Go to Website

Central Iowa Shelter & Services

Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS) “provide[s] free shelter and meals to homeless adults regardless of physical or emotional conditions, and facilitate[s] their move toward self-sufficiency.” CISS offers several programs and ways to volunteer, such as donating money, assisting with daily guest registration and bed assignments, providing evening meals, rescuing food, and collecting items that the CISS needs. Go to Website

Central Iowa Trails

Central Iowa Trails is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to create and maintain single track trails (i.e., narrow mountain biking trails) in and around the region. Its central purpose is the “world-class design, construction, and maintenance of trails in partnership with city, county, state, and private landowners.” Central Iowa Trails hosts trail work and trail building days monthly. Go to Website

Character Counts in Iowa

Character Counts in Iowa strives to “recognize, enhance, and sustain the positive qualities of Iowans in order to promote civility through character development.” Character Counts envisions an Iowa in which every resident “embrace[s] and practice[s] good character by demonstrating trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.” Residents can get involved with Character Counts by volunteering at one of their special events or helping start a character education program in one’s own community, company, or school. Go to Website

Chrysalis Foundation

The Chrysalis Foundation is “dedicated to increasing resources and opportunities for girls and women in Greater Des Moines” and “envisions a world of independent, influential, confident, and contributing girls and women who are fully involved in civic, cultural, and economic life in their communities.” The foundation seeks volunteers for community partners and for its own after school programs, in addition to hosts for events. Go to Website


CULTUREALL strives “to create discovery-filled experiences that strengthen cultural understanding and appreciation in our daily lives.” Residents can share their passion by serving as a Cultural Ambassador and presenting their experience, knowledge, and love of cultures. Go to Website

Des Moines Area Interfaith Hospitality Network

The Des Moines Area Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) strives to create a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for homeless children and also supports the efforts of their parents to secure employment and housing. Residents can assist IHN by preparing breakfast or dinner, serving as evening or overnight hosts, doing laundry, or transporting guests. Go to Website

Des Moines Area Religious Council

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is an interfaith organization with a core membership of about 140 congregations from four faith traditions. DMARC “provides a common means of responding to basic human needs and a context for interfaith dialogue.” DMARC manages the largest food pantry network in Iowa. Consequently, DMARC needs residents to assist with getting food to people who need it. Go to Website

Des Moines Bicycle Collective

The Des Moines Bicycle Collective “promotes bicycling as a means of active transportation, wellness, and recreation in central Iowa.” The Collective recycles and refurbishes used bikes, conducts classes, organizes Central Iowa Bike Month, operates the B-cycle program, produces regional trail maps and guides, and promotes cycling as a viable, healthy transportation option, among other activities. The Collective offers numerous volunteer opportunities related to repairs, tune-ups, events, and valet services. Go to Website

Des Moines Music Coalition

The Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC) “aggressively advocate[s], sponsor[s], and develop[s] an independent, progressive live music community in Greater Des Moines for the purpose of urban revitalization, regional economic development, and the retention of our region’s youth and future.” DMMC volunteers help at events such as Gross Domestic Product, an all-Iowa music festival held every spring, and 80/35, an “annual two-day progressive indie and jam music festival over 4th of July weekend in downtown Des Moines.” Go to Website

Des Moines Rehabbers Club

The Des Moines Rehabbers Club “promotes neighborhood revitalization and restoration of Des Moines’ unique building stock by informing, educating, inspiring, and supporting each other in all phases of home renovation and maintenance.” The group supports and encourages residents who are undertaking renovation projects and offers monthly meetings. The only thing an individual “need[s] is an interest in responsible stewardship of Des Moines’ unique buildings.” Go to Website

Des Moines Social Club

The Des Moines Social Club (DMSC) is keeping the region cool by using “the arts as a catalyst to create unprecedented community engagement.” The DMSC offers many varied volunteer opportunities, from ushering theater shows to making hand water buckets to being contestants in a motorized tricycle race. Go to Website