March 9, 2018
Draw Together: 2018 Home Show Non-Profit Highlights
At the 2018 Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association Home Show, Urban Acres wanted to do something big—and that, we did! Our booth—an 8-foot-tall coloring book installation featuring inspirations from the local community—focused on giving back to local charities, including The Crisis Center of Johnson County, Friends of the Animal Center Foundation, and Systems Unlimited, Inc. Home Show attendees were encouraged to stop by the Urban Acres booth and Draw Together. For every square foot they colored, a $10 donation was made to each charity. We had an amazing turnout and ended up donating $500 to each organization! To shed light on these amazing organizations, we’ve put together a blog post detailing each organization, and why we chose to incorporate them into this year’s home show. Check it out below!
The Crisis Center of Johnson County was formed in 1970 after two college students realized the need for better crisis outreach resources in their community. For the first two years, the Crisis Center operated solely as a hotline and was ran out of a secret location in Iowa City. In 1972, the organization moved to a new location and began accepting walk-in clients for counseling. Four years later, they adjusted the hotline so people could utilize the service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Since then, the Crisis Center has transformed its services from a small handful of volunteers answering phone calls to a building with services that include mental health counseling, a fully stocked food pantry, access to clean clothing and fundamental household items, and much more. The Crisis Center has routinely partnered with local organizations and businesses to raise awareness and raise funds. 75% of the Food Bank’s resources are donated by locals, so Urban Acres was thrilled to get the opportunity to support one of the backbone organizations in the community. The Crisis Center has played a key role in helping community members get back on their feet through numerous crisis situations. Urban Acres recognized the importance The Crisis Center has in the Johnson County community and wanted to give back to the people who give so much to our community.
In 1999, three local women—Holly Hotchkiss, Jean Walker, and Lisa Drahzal Pooley—saw an opportunity to help four-legged friends in Iowa City. The three women realized that the Iowa City Budget for the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center wasn’t enough to give the area’s abused, neglected, and homeless animals the help that they needed. After coming to this conclusion, the women started a grassroots movement to supplement the Animal Center’s budget, forming the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation. What started with just $500 in the bank has grown to over a million dollars being pledged to the organization, and has helped the Animal Center build their new shelter located at 2456 S. Riverside Drive in Iowa City.
Urban Acres loves animals and holds the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation near and dear to our hearts. Many of us have animals, including one that you may occasionally find at the Urban Acres headquarters. Barb is a three-legged, fun-loving member of the Urban Acres team who can be found visiting our offices on Wednesdays. Our agents are also actively involved with the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation. You can often find our agents attending their events or volunteering and spreading awareness about the importance of the organization. Urban Acres was ecstatic about partnering with the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation in hopes of spreading their important cause and donating money to help out sweethearts like Pretty Girl, a blind and deaf senior dog.
Created in the 1970s, Systems Unlimited was the brainchild of parents wanting living options—other than institutions—for their children with disabilities. Systems Unlimited was one of the first organizations that granted low-income housing from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which allowed people to live in small, non-institutional environments in their local community. Since its beginning, the organization has expanded to include over 15 different services that range from supported living, employment services, therapy services, and more. The organization currently serves over 1,200 children, adults, and families in 45 towns throughout Eastern Iowa.
Urban Acres shares a special connection with Systems Unlimited, as our very own Phil O’Brien and his wife Jenny both worked at and met through Systems Unlimited. While Phil now works at Urban Acres and volunteers at Systems Unlimited in his spare time, Jenny has continued work with the organization as a Human Resources Manager.
Systems Unlimited is based on the pillars of community and inclusion. Because of this, our Draw Together installation was a perfect opportunity to bring the community together in order to support the organization.