Tag Archives: Des Moines Social Club

NON-CON is in one month

I’m so excited! YNPN Des Moines is hosting our first mini conference and after party on Jan. 8, 2015 to celebrate our second programming year. We’ll be exploring topics in nonprofit management through the lens of art, a theme that was inspired by our hosts, the Des Moines Social Club, and a desire to have a Powerpoint-free conference.  NON-CON attendees will creatively address challenges in the nonprofit sector and enjoy a space to meet and learn from potential collaborators.



Who’s it for? The event is open to professionals of all ages and experience levels. Whether you currently work at a charitable organization or have goals to be a change-maker in our community, you will come away excited and energized to fulfill your mission. It’s FREE for YNPN Des Moines members or $45 for the general public. (I’ll let you in on a secret – the membership is a steal!) Get tickets here.

The best thing about planning this is working with a team of our up-and coming leadership, and pulling in amazing artists and nonprofit pros to facilitate.

Laura of XO-LP will bring her nonprofit pro background and super illustrator skills together as part of a team going inside the mind of fundraising.

Emily, a nonprofit pro by day and yoga instructor by early morning/evening will drop some burnout prevention tactics.

Kristopher and Emily of RUN DSM will be there with all of their characteristic energetic reciprocity.

Nick Renkoski, a man of many talents, will facilitate an unconventional opening session.

I had to get out of my comfort zone to recruit sponsors and am so thankful to the companies who stepped up to support this event! We’re splitting our sponsor dollars with the Social Club, so it was cool to find a way to contribute to an organization I’ve appreciated for a long time. Please join us Jan. 8!


Leave a comment

Filed under I love Des Moines, Side projects

Iowan by Choice

Discovered amidst a puddle-wonderful crowd at the grand opening this month: My sliver of yellow brick in the Des Moines Social Club courtyard.

Iowan by choice! — it says.


Part of me can’t believe it’s been seven years since I moved to Des Moines – late Memorial Day weekend, 2007 – and part of me feels like I’ve been here a lifetime. Somewhere along the line, I made a choice: I adopted Iowa.

My favorite nights in our city are when Des Moines feels like a small town with a glowing skyline. When all of the quirky characters, friends and neighbors from different corners mix, electrifying the atmosphere with a buzz of excitement for the moment: glorious summer Saturday mornings at the Farmer’s Market, sundown at the Arts Festival, the rainy finish line at the Relays road race or the opening of a venue designed to bring us all together. Sweep us in, swirl us through what’s possible when passion finds financing.


It was a stormy afternoon and then, as if on cue, a rainbow arched across the cloudy sky as I approached the Social Club on opening night.

Standing at the doorway was my dear friend Danny, bursting with good news. Up by the elevators, a friend from book club talking to another from my babysitting co-op. Two artists I know breezed behind me. Babies in carriers everywhere — and somewhere around, David Byrne!

I like that this is a family town. Later, a red ribbon snaked through the crowd and even my small son got to grab hold of a piece.


Des Moines is my home, it’s where I’m raising my child, but I still remember what it was like to be new and lonely in this place, surrounded by strangers. A true transplant, I’d moved here sight unseen. I can’t pinpoint when, exactly, the roots took hold , but it had a lot to do with the people who invited me in – to coffees and cake nights and adventures.

Development — urban or personal — it’s a long game we’re playing. Visions, plans, progress, dreams, reationships — it’s a slog. For every exhilarating, culminating day are thousands of days of tedium and redrawing plans. For every life-altering friendship, there are disagreements, dance parties, quiet porch conversations.

I commend everyone who is pouring their creativity into our city, making things happen, big and small. Introducing people. Joining forces. Brick by brick, friends.



First and third photo via #dsmcopening on Instgram


Filed under I love Des Moines

New Year’s Eve Des Moines

My Facebook feed is full of signs that the caucus is in full swing here in Des Moines. It’s satellite truck season in the city! If only we had a little snow to make it feel more cozy. And if only I were to randomly run into Brian Williams.

Back when I was a member of the “lamestream” media, I spent a New Year’s Eve with Joe and my friend Meredith who was in from D.C. at the Raucous Before the Caucus, a party for credentialed media members with a hosted bar and a fancy atmosphere. This election season, it will be held at the World Food Prize headquarters, which is in the recently renovated old city library. It’s totally gorgeous. My family toured it this fall when it first opened and I could sit and stare at the stained glass all day — especially because it’s such an awesome foundation.

I hope the media continue to be impressed by the momentum we have here in DM. I remember four years ago how surprised everyone was at the positive changes, and I hope they notice the additional strides the city has taken since the last election. Which brings me to what I’m doing on New Year’s Eve!

This year, I’ll be at THE BASH, the Des Moines Social Club’s annual NYE event. I helped plan an element of this year’s Bash: To capitalize on all of the political excitement, we’re hosting a Faux Caucus with five local young professionals vying for the title of “Social Czar.” (What they’re really vying for is funds for the charity of their choice, although everyone gets the opportunity to introduce a platform of their ideas for the city and a cause close to their hearts.)

Tickets are $25 at the door and I will be there, likely manning  button-making/voting station!

The Des Moines Social Club is working to find a new, permanent, home and is hoping to move into the old downtown Des Moines Firehouse. The World Food Prize was able to revitalize a historic landmark in Des Moines, and the DMSC would love to connect the future of the art scene with a building that blends the past with our new energy and creates a hub for the “creative class” to get together and collaborate. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in 2012.

Check out “I want DMSC in the Firehouse” for updates.

UPDATE! I was tickled to see my friend (and WFP communications director) Megan Hawkins Forgrave in these Vanity Fair blog post pictures from this year’s Raucous! (Also glad that the post made my book club selection — which lost to The Submission — look like the better choice!)

Annnd, if you have a good time scrolling through photo booth style photos, here are some Joe Crimmings originals from The Bash.

Leave a comment

Filed under I love Des Moines