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The Partnership Announces 2023 Inclusion Award Winners

November 15, 2023

GREATER DES MOINES, IA (Nov. 15, 2023) – The Greater Des Moines Partnership has announced the winners of the 2023 Inclusion Awards. The awards seek to honor and celebrate the success of organizations that have championed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their businesses, organizations and in the community. Winners were announced and honored at the 11th Annual Inclusion Summit that took place today. 

This year’s Inclusion Awards reflected what recipients have done to ensure inclusion-related initiatives are sustainable and targeted to create a sense of belonging for employees and community stakeholders. 

The award winners are:  

Oakridge Neighborhood: Small Organization Category (1 – 150 employees) – Oakridge Neighborhood is a premier housing and service provider offering a stable community working to alleviate poverty and help people develop to their full potential. This culturally rich neighborhood is a place where people can raise families while working towards sustained self-reliance. With a campus of 339 safe, affordable housing units, families gain stability at Oakridge while preparing for the next step in their life’s journey. In addition, the organization provides wraparound services for residents and the greater community, designed to create opportunities for individual and family success. Services include Oak Academy preschool, rigorous afterschool and out-of-school programs for youth grades K-12, and family and workforce programs, including career preparation and placement, financial literacy, English language adult literacy, citizenship and more. Oakridge staff serves on numerous boards within the community and has implemented numerous DEI initiatives. 

IMT Insurance: Medium Organization Category (151 – 500 employees) – Since its founding in 1884, IMT Insurance has been committed to supporting those in the moments that matter. IMT Insurance roots run deep in the communities where they live and do business, which fuels the passion for making a positive impact with DEI initiatives, charitable giving and volunteer support. Since 2020, IMT Insurance has furthered efforts to support under-represented communities. IMT Insurance created a senior-level DEI Director position, an internal team named the DEI Collective, four Employee Resource Groups, an Inclusive Mindset Cohort offered three times a year, Cultural Connection sessions covering multiple DEI topics offered year-round, offered the Intercultural Development Inventory to 175 employees, and more. IMT Insurance strengthened long-term partnerships with organizations that share in a mission to serve under-represented communities, including OneIowa, Easterseals, Lutheran Services of Iowa and others. 

Bankers Trust: Large Organization Category (more than 500 employees) – Since 1917, Bankers Trust has been a leading financial institution for commercial and consumer banking services. For decades, the bank has been a leader in advancing opportunities for individuals from different backgrounds, ensuring fair and equitable treatment and promoting awareness of various DEI initiatives within the community. Bankers Trust proactively recruits talent from different backgrounds, leveraging a variety of resources that support employment opportunities for women, minority and military candidates, as well as candidates with disabilities. New policies and programs at Bankers Trust aim to create an inclusive workplace environment, including an expanded Flexible Workplace Policy, a comprehensive pay equity project, updated lifestyle account benefit, a partnership with CultureALL to create a three-year roadmap to guide the bank’s DEI goals and strategies and more. 

City of West Des Moines: Public Entity Category – The City of West Des Moines is a diverse and rapidly growing community that sits in part of Polk, Dallas, Warren and Madison counties. Originally incorporated as a railroad town in 1983 as Valley Junction with a population of 500, it is now a bustling hub of commerce and quality living with over 68,723 people. The City of West Des Moines workforce is comprised of a diverse number of individuals and is actively working to increase representation. Its DEI initiatives and practices include launching a citywide Belonging and Engagement Survey to measure employee experience and perceptions, hosting monthly Lunch & Learn events on topics to promote an inclusive workplace and sponsoring DEI events and programs in West Des Moines and the broader region, including the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Symposium, Iowa Juneteenth, Iowa Asian Alliance’s CelebrAsian, Polk County Welcoming Week – Free Community Meal, Historic Valley Junction Foundation’s annual Cinco De Mayo, Taste of the Junction Multicultural Festival and many more. 

Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG): Non-Profit Category – iJAG is a public-private partnership that drives equity, energizes local economies and contributes to thriving communities. The bridge between public education and the world-of-work, iJAG offers programming that complements middle and high school academics by preparing students to look past graduation, toward a career that offers fulfilling work and financial self-sufficiency. iJAG has secured an authorization process with the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners that allows individuals who are not traditional educators to enter the education profession to teach iJAG coursework in grades 7-12. The organization has also implemented a feedback process to monitor staff safety, belonging and retention, as well as partnered with the University of Iowa’s Scanlan Center for School Mental Health to support the well-being of staff, students and other stakeholders. iJAG has also integrated the principles of Healing Centered Engagement, which incorporates culture, spirituality, civil action and mobilizes collective healing to provide Trauma Informed Care. Along with these initiatives, iJAG is working to launch an Alumni Network to alumni to continue to stay involved in iJAG programming, mentorship and development in the DSM community. In 2021, iJAG also formed an Equity Resource Group (ERG) to improve work conditions and make the workplace psychologically safe for everyone. 

To qualify for the Inclusion Awards, organizations must be a Regional Member or Investor of The Partnership. A selection committee made up of members of The Partnership’s Inclusion Council and The Partnership team evaluated the applications. 

“This year's honorees have exhibited a purposeful dedication to propelling their businesses on the DEI path and leaving a profound mark in their communities,” said Dr. Marvin DeJear, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at The Partnership. “They've devoted themselves to investing time and energy into effecting substantial change within their organizations and well beyond." 

During the Summit, the DSM 4 Equity Collective unveiled the Central Iowa Equity Dashboard with data powered by United Way of Central Iowa. View the dashboard online at dsm4equity.org. 

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com