Iowa HHS promotes volunteer opportunities, recognition

volunteer Iowa Department of Health and Human Services HHS

More than 57% of Iowans volunteer in some capacity to serve others each year and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers numerous ways to recognize these volunteers and encourage others to give back. 

“We are thrilled to be able to recognize the outstanding contributions of so many selfless Iowans who continue to give back to our state through their passionate volunteer efforts,” Iowa HHS Director Kelly Garcia said in a news release. 

“Iowa HHS provides many unique volunteer opportunities for all Iowans to get involved in their communities. Volunteering not only helps a specific cause, but also has tremendous impact on a person’s mental health and cognitive wellbeing,” she said. “I hope Iowans will see the value in volunteering and commit to helping others and our community.”   

The Iowa HHS announced these statewide recognition and volunteer opportunities:

2024 Governor’s Volunteer Awards – The annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards, which recognizes individuals and organizations for generous volunteer efforts, is now accepting nominations through 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 30. Categories include: individual, group, and length of service. 

The Governor’s Volunteer Awards have recognized thousands of volunteers for their efforts since 1982 through projects in arts and culture, education, mentoring, and STEM. 

To nominate a volunteer

Nominations are accepted online from city, county, state and federal governments, community colleges, private colleges, universities, Iowa MENTOR certified programs, K-12 schools (public and parochial), national service programs operating in Iowa (AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Seniors), nonprofit and charitable organizations, and non-state government organizations.  

Give Back Iowa Challenge – Registration is now open for the 10th annual Give Back Iowa Challenge, an eight-week challenge from April 1 – May 31, aimed at engaging Iowans in employer-supported volunteering efforts. 

The challenge was created in 2015 as a competitive challenge for Iowa employers to track the volunteer efforts of their employees. Last year, 24 employers participated in the challenge logging over 17,000 volunteer hours. 

“It has never been more important to support the physical and mental well-being of employees than it is today,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. “Volunteering as an organization is a fantastic way to build a sense of community and connection that will foster the supportive culture workplaces should strive for.” 

For more information and employers interested in participating, visit  

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