Young Women's Resource Center

Empowering a life of possibilities

aka YWRC   |   Des Moines, IA   |


The Mission of the Young Women's Resource Center is to empower participants to be strong, self-confident and resilient.   Our Vision is for the youth of our community to grow to their full potential and realize the life of possibilities they deserve.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Kari Zimmerman

Main address

818 5th Avenue

Des Moines, IA 50309 USA

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NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Family Services (Adolescent Parents) (P45)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Life for young women today is increasingly difficult. No matter what their background, we see girls struggling with self-esteem, body image, harassment, bullying, and mental health. These near universal challenges become significantly more complex with the intersecting issues of poverty and childhood trauma. Currently, over 70% of YWRC clients live at or below the poverty level. Results of the YWRC Youth Experiences Survey (YES) have also demonstrated high rates of trauma among clients served. Pregnant and parenting teen mothers face compounding challenges. Persistently, 100% of YWRC Young Moms clients have lived at or below the poverty level with over a third of clients reporting experience with abuse, assault, homelessness and/or hunger. Young moms also face barriers to escape cycles of poverty and trauma due to lack of education - with only 38% of young moms graduating on time.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Empowerment Program

Empowerment Program - provide gender specific services to young women ages 10-21 through a variety of different groups and individual counseling. Goals include:

Increasing Resiliency Factors
Promoting positive self-esteem and healthy relationships
Developing leadership skills
Fostering effective and healthy problem solving skills
Advancing our agenda of creativity, adaptability, health and wellness

Services Provided

Empowerment Groups: 6-8 week small group group sessions focused on negotiating adolescence
Summer Programs: Interactive groups that address the special needs of young women
After School Groups: Several ongoing groups offered after school
Mariposa: A leadership group for Latinas
Survivor Support Groups: To assist survivors of sexual abuse/dating violence
Individual Therapy: Provided by a Master's level therapist

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

The Young Moms Program provides gender specific services to pregnant and parenting young women ages 13-21. Goals Include:

Pursuit of economic self-sufficiency
High school graduation or equivalency
Comprehending the advantages of waiting until adulthood to have additional children
Understanding the developmental needs of their children and gaining positive parenting skills
Eliminating low birth weight and premature birth

Services Provided

Young Moms staff conduct groups designed to provide peer support and parenting education to young moms
Childbirth Education classes for pregnant young women are provided in schools and community organizations
Individual Support provides one-on-one services to young moms to meet basic needs, continue education, and obtain employment as well as referrals to other community resources
Certified staff conduct a car seat education and distribution program
Trained doulas provide comprehensive health and support services to pregnant young women

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
At-risk youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

All of YWRC programming is designed for and provided to benefit girls and young women ages 10-21 in the Greater Des Moines area. Individual and small groups are provided through three primary programs: Empowerment, Young Moms and Therapy. All evidence based curriculum utilized are designed to target adolescent females. Empowerment, Young Moms and Therapy groups all incorporate lessons around reproductive health, feminism, sexism and gender stereotypes, healthy relationships, body image and the importance of supportive sisterhood. Collectively, the YWRC serves over 1,500 girls and young women annually.

The YWRC cannot erase the social pressures or history of trauma that impacts participating girls and young women, but it is their ability to cope and bounce back from those experiences that determines their long term health and success. By specifically focusing on four pillars of resiliency the YWRC provides participants with the ability to build healthy relationships, make healthy decisions, develop a firm confidence in who they are as individuals, and overcome whatever ongoing obstacles they face.

All of YWRC programs specifically support mental, physical and behavioral well-being through curriculum developed and tracked to measure and improve client resiliency. The four pillars of resiliency YWRC focus on include:
Connections & Strong Social Network: Having secure attachment to caregivers or supportive adults on a regular basis, as well as positive and healthy relationships with peers and siblings.
Confidence & Self-esteem: Maintaining belief in personal abilities, self-acceptance and sense of identity. Additionally, challenging self-critical behaviors and re-framing negative experiences.
Competence & Sense of Purpose: Mastery of skill, self-discovery and pursuit of opportunities to get involved in the community in meaningful ways.
Coping & Self-Control: Developing problem solving and decision making skills, setting goals, managing emotions, and managing impulsive reactions to emotions.

Performance goals for the next year include:
50% of participants demonstrate improvement in their sense of connections and ability to build a strong network.
50% of participants demonstrate improvement in confidence and self-esteem.
50% of participants demonstrate an improved sense of competence and purpose.
50% of participants report feeling improved ability to cope with difficult situations and practice self-control.
60% of participants increase their overall score across all four categories.
85% of participants demonstrate improvement in at least one of the four resiliency components.
75% of eligible Young Moms participants graduate High School.

The YWRC offers all Empowerment and Young Moms programs for free, with transportation provided to and from on-site programs. All programs are gender specific, culturally responsive and trauma informed. Every effort is made to create a safe, non-judgmental environment where clients can build trust with facilitators and healthy relationships with their peers.

The Empowerment Program utilizes the research based Girls Circle curriculum which is designed for girls ages 9-18 and is based on relational theory, resiliency practices and skills training in a gender specific format to increase participants’ positive connections, competence and personal and collective strengths. Previous studies have revealed statistically significant improvement for participants in Girls Circle programs, including: an increase in self-efficacy, a decrease in self-harming behavior, a decrease in rates of alcohol use, an increase in attachment to school, increases in positive body image and increases in social support.

Programs include:
Empowerment Groups: six week segments within over 40 local elementary and middle schools
After School Groups: year-round programming available to clients in 5th grade through high school
Connections: small group for juvenile justice referred clients focused on impulse control and anger management
Lotus Group: art therapy small group focused on serving clients who have experienced assault or abuse
Mariposa: small group developing young Latina women as leaders, celebrating heritage and challenging racism
Black Girl Magic: small group developing young Black women as leaders, celebrating heritage and challenging racism

The Young Moms Program relies on a combination of research-based curricula, including: International Childbirth Education (ICEA) curriculum and Love Notes. The ICEA curriculum contains elements specifically focused on achieving healthy pregnancies, supporting the mental health of the mother and encouraging nurturing parenting skills with an emphasis on attachment and parental resilience. Love Notes is an evidence based approach that integrates relationship skills with repeat pregnancy prevention and workforce readiness.

Programs include:
Better Beginnings Doula Program: individual support with a personal doula that helps young moms advocate for themselves, assists in prenatal visits, attends the birth, and follows up during the post-partum period.
Pregnancy and Childbirth Education and Support Group: small group to help clients understand what to expect during pregnancy, assist in communication with health providers, and address common challenges
Young Moms Parenting and Life Skills Group: small group focused on developing positive parenting skills and life skills with peer support
Individual Support Program: individual support to address clients’ unique needs and to achieve personal goals

The Young Women's Resource Center (YWRC) has worked to provide critical programming for girls and young women in the Greater Des Moines area since 1978. Over the past 42 years, the YWRC has developed gender and age specific curriculum that address the most common and pressing challenges facing young women in our community.

Over the years the YWRC has been grateful to develop close community partnerships that allow the organization to effectively reach as many clients as possible. In particular, by partnering with the Des Moines Public School District the YWRC is able to reduce barriers to participation by providing Empowerment programming in 38 schools and Young Moms programming in 7 local schools.

On site, the YWRC also offers small after school groups and therapy. Empowerment Program works with 4 full time and 1 part time Empowerment Specialists and two Counselors, and the Young Moms Program works with 3 full time and 1 part time Young Moms Specialists.

The YWRC maintains a budget of over $1 million annually, with 1/3 of funding from United Way of Central Iowa, 1/3 from corporate and foundation grants, and 1/3 from individual donors.

Since 1978, the YWRC has served over 30,000 girls and young women in the Greater Des Moines area. Through Empowerment, Young Moms and Therapy - the YWRC now offers 17 unique programs aims at providing support that tailors to each clients needs.

Results from the Resiliency Survey in 2018 show the following outcomes for clients:
* Overall improvement in resiliency: 48%
* Improved in at least one resiliency category: 74%
* Improved in Connections and Strong Social Networks: 39%
* Improved in Confidence and Self-Esteem: 35%
* Improvement in Competence and Sense of Purpose: 40%
* Improvement in Coping and Self-Control: 44%

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The YWRC utilizes support, education and advocacy to provide free individual and small group programming to girls and young women ages 10-24 in the Greater Des Moines area. This includes cisgender girls, cisgender women, transgender persons and non-binary individuals.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    A number of YWRC participants identify as non-binary or transgender. While the YWRC is inherently gendered, communication with participants who did not identify as “girls or young women” made it clear there was a need to update both organizational language and guidelines for how facilitators communicate during groups to be more inclusive and help all participants feel safe and welcome. The first step was the creation of guidelines and orientation training to help facilitators learn to be more considerate of pronouns and adjust the way lessons around reproductive health, relationships, and gender stereotypes are led. Next, the YWRC staff, leadership and Board conducted a review of the organizational mission, vision, values and “who we serve” statements.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.),

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,


Young Women's Resource Center

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Young Women's Resource Center

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Lora McCollum

McCollum Law Firm

Term: 2016 - 2022

Board co-chair

Karman Hotchkiss

Meredith Corporation

Term: 2016 - 2022

Rhonda Elming

Sammons Financial Group

Anne Howsare Boyens


Amanda Young

Banker's Trust

Karman Hotchkiss

Meredith Corporation

Lora McCollom

McCollom Law Firm

Ron Hanson


Katie Phillips


Jill Lippincott

Iowa Economic Development

Heather McDermott


Maria Volante

Dardis Communications

Tiffany Strimm

Des Moines Public Schools

Kelsey Knowles

Belin McCormick

Veronica White


Ka'Meka Lowery

Meredith Corporation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/14/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/14/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.