2023 Annual Update

Where children achieve. Families thrive. Prosperity is created.

Oakridge Neighborhood is a vibrant, diverse community committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and unlocking new possibilities. We provide stable, affordable housing alongside innovative, responsive and impactful family-centered social services. Our culturally tailored education initiatives and comprehensive employability programs empower individuals to attain personal and economic independence. Since our establishment in 1969, we’ve been instrumental in fostering opportunities for thousands of families to thrive and prosper.

Oakridge Neighborhood — a vibrant and diverse affordable housing community. Where children achieve. Families thrive. Prosperity is created.

2023 Highlights


  • 51% of our residents are children under the age of 18
  • The average household income of residents is $23,245
  • 76% of units list female head of household; 24% list male head of household
  • 13% of residents are disabled
  • 12% of residents are age 62 or older

Highlights of note:

  • The 10th anniversary of our Silver Oaks senior housing apartments
  • New campus amenities including the Prairie Meadows Splash Pad
  • Increased average apartment occupancy rate up 14% over 2022


  • 162 clients were placed in jobs with an average hourly rate of $19; another 130 are employment-ready
  • 52 students were enrolled in adult literacy classes, and 338 participated in financial education training
  • 23 people participated in Pathways to Homeownership training; 7 families purchased homes
  • 1,092 families were served with food rescue

Highlights of note:

  • Transportation Solutions, providing Job Rides, Wheels of HOPE vehicle purchase program, and Driver’s Ed led by five staff members who earned certification to provide instruction in multiple languages
  • An on-site doula to offer trusted support for expectant mothers
  • Staff fluent in 13 languages, including sign language


  • The Studio provides ALL metro youth ages 13-21 exposure to possibilities in tech, design, art and music
  • Soft opening in December 2023

Highlights of note:

  • Dedicated full-time coordinator
  • Programming materials and training provided by The Clubhouse Network


  • The majority of students are minorities, 74% are refugees or immigrants, and 63% speak English as a second language
  • 100% of students come from households earning 50% or below of Polk County’s average median income
  • 80% of middle school program participants passed all classes
  • 85% of participants demonstrated success in reading and math as measured by report card grades of C or better
  • Programming 15+ hours/week during academic year and 10 hours for 9 weeks in the summer
  • 65 youth ages 13-21 held paid summer internships across the metro, engaged 32-40 hours per week and made up to $25/hour. Youth reported increased employment skills (93%), community and civic responsibility (91%), and academic engagement (87%)

Highlights of note:

  • Grade school and middle school parent-teacher conferences including translators, conveniently held on Oakridge campus
  • A growing partnership with Ballet Des Moines, as 10 of our youth selected to perform in “The Nutcracker;” this is just one of a number of partners providing meaningful enrichment for students


  • 86% from low- or very low-income households
  • 85% from single-parent households with an average annual income of $17,389
  • 58% are children of refugees or immigrants, and 42% are Oakridge residents
  • 97.5% demonstrated age appropriate skills, a testament to their success in the classroom and the effectiveness of Oak Academy programming
  • One of only a few United Way funded preschool programs accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), with rigorous program standards and accreditation criteria
  • Open 11 hours every weekday, serving 2 meals and 2 snacks

Highlights of note:

  • Center-wide parent-teacher conferences held twice annually, including late night appointments and an open house with food and child care
  • Five different languages spoken by Oak Academy teachers
  • Important training provided by our Prepared to Care program for 35 in-home childcare businesses at Oakridge and throughout the metro

Board of Directors

  • President: Dr. Andrea McGuire, Dr. Andy McGuire & Associates
  • Vice President: Skylar Mayberry-Mayes, The Jacobson Institute at Grand View University
  • Secretary: Emily LeMay, Global Atlantic Financial Group
  • Treasurer: Mark Wiltse, F&G
  • Assistant Treasurer: Erin Kuhl, Krause Group
  • Immediate Past-President: Martine Olson-Daniel, Wells Fargo
  • Marcy Baker, Sammons Financial Group Companies
  • Rona Berinobis, Athene
  • Carol Bodensteiner, Writer/Editor
  • Jamie Buelt, enQStrategies
  • Diana Dubuisson, DotDash Meredith
  • Albert Farr, DMACC Urban Campus
  • Jessica Feeney, Atlantic Bottling Company
  • Sharon Gaddy-Hanna, Bankers Trust (retired)
  • Tim Haight, Deere & Company/John Deere Financial (retired)
  • Matt Haney, John Deere Financial Services
  • Michael Hutney, Consultant
  • Mary Johnson, Assured Partners
  • Nalo Johnson, PhD, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
  • Kent Kramer, The Foster Group
  • Joyce McDanel, UnityPoint Health Des Moines
  • Peter Ngo, Resident Representative
  • Kuuku Saah, Ntontan RE
  • Deidre Williams, EMC



Operating Expense



Kristin Littlejohn, Chief Development Officer


(515) 244-7702

1401 Center Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50314 • (515) 244-7702