Everybody Wins! Iowa

On Board for the Kids

When Matt Ahmann, counsel with The Principal®, was looking for an opportunity to get more involved, he looked for organizations that matched his interests.

At The Principal, we realize the talents of our employees are often as valuable as our treasure. That’s why we’re focused on identifying meaningful nonprofit board opportunities for leaders at The Principal.

And when a friend and former colleague suggested joining the board of Everybody Wins! Iowa, Ahmann was sold.

Everybody Wins! Iowa is a nonprofit literacy and mentoring organization that partners children one-on-one with community volunteers to develop their reading skills. The organization’s mission is to increase children’s opportunities for success in school and life by improving literacy. Everybody Wins! Iowa has more than 500 volunteers and programs in 20 schools in Des Moines and the surrounding areas.

“Both of my parents were teachers for most of their careers,” Ahmann says. “Joining an organization that generates volunteers who are matched with and read to a grade-school student during the school day, one day each week for the entire school year, felt like a perfect fit.”

Ahmann started on the board in November 2010 and now serves as the vice president and chair of the personnel committee. Since Everybody Wins! Iowa is a small organization, he says all board members are active on one of three committees in addition to their board position. Most board members, including Ahmann, also volunteer to read to and mentor a student during the school year.

Serving on the board of a nonprofit is not just a time commitment, it’s a development and leadership opportunity. Plus, it allows individuals to share their specialized skills with an organization in need.

After meetings, volunteering at his organization’s events and helping out where possible, Ahmann sees the value of volunteerism clearer than ever.

“Organizations such as Everybody Wins! Iowa are powered by their volunteers and have a tremendous positive impact,” Ahmann says. “People who have the education, experience and energy to help out need to get engaged.”

It may come as a surprise, but Ahmann says it’s not in his nature to volunteer. “I tend to be selfish with my time outside of work,” Ahmann says. “But it is important for folks to step up and contribute.”

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