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Board Forms


The Mission - The Arc of Iowa empowers people with intellectual and related disabilities to engage in lifelong opportunities to live, learn, work and play with dignity, freedom and full inclusion in their communities.

The Purpose - The Arc of Iowa advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), preserving and protecting their fundamental rights through advocacy and action in support of legislation for civil rights, employment, housing and supports. We connect people with disabilities, their families, professionals and others to create hope, growth and change.  

Core Values

  • Strength in diversity
  • Each individual and family is unique and has value
  • Individuals and families are best served in an inclusive community
  • Individuals with disabilities deserve quality educational, vocational, social and living opportunities
  • Individuals must be treated with dignity
  • Each individual/ family has a right to make its own decisions

Board Member Pledge

I recognize the importance of the responsibility I am undertaking in serving as a member of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Iowa and realizing that this agency is a vital and essential part of the community because it enriches the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families and epitomizes the highest societal values, hereby pledge to carry out in a trustworthy and dedicated manner the duties and obligations in my role as a board member.

Board Member Job Description

To serve the board as a voting member; to develop policies, procedures and regulations for the operation of The Arc of Iowa; to monitor finances of the association, its programs and performance.

Board Orientation

Power Point Presentation designed to help you better understand your role as a Director of The Arc of Iowa.  

Board Member Application

Thank you for your interest in joining The Arc of Iowa. Please provide information about yourself, to help fellow directors know more about you. The following information will be shared


What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” –Steven Covey.

History of The Arc of Iowa

Chartered in 1953, The Arc of Iowa serves and supports 94,000 Iowans affected by intellectual disability. This is accomplished by providing advocacy and services, which help people with disabilities and their families choose and realize their goals in life. We work to reduce the incidence of disabilities through education and public awareness. The supports and services provided to individuals and families include advocacy, outreach, information sharing, referral and direct service through a variety of structured programs, which are offered in Iowa. We believe in building better lives for people with disabilities and their families.


The Arc of Iowa is an affiliated chapter of The Arc of the United States. Currently, there are 11 local affiliates (or chapters) in Iowa. From volunteer run social/advocacy chapters to more service driven groups each shares a common mission to promote the general welfare and independence of all Iowans with intellectual and related disabilities.

The Arc has an affiliate/member structure that has existed since its inception. Every chapter in each state pays affiliate dues to the national office based on budget size. In 2007 The Arc of the United States dropped individual member assessment when it adjusted affiliate dues.

In Iowa, The Arc adopted this model. In the 1970’s there were 90+ chapters of The Arc in the state. Each chapter was assessed affiliate dues and each chapter sent member dues so that those members would belong to all levels of The Arc. The Arc of Iowa had a staff of 20 and consistent representation at the State Capital and made critical strides in 1973 (for education for students with severe disabilities); 1974( the emphasis on downsizing state institutions); 1975 (allowed county board of supervisors the ability to use federal money for facilities for the population) 1977 (helped develop Protection and Advocacy)

By 1990 the population in many counties was dwindling and there was an exodus to larger urban areas to gain access to better programming for people with disabilities. Local Arc chapters began to disappear.

In 1994 The Arc of Iowa State Board President convened a group of individuals from across the state to recreate the affiliate/member structure. That occurred and the structure was based on a) budget size, b) populations area covered by the chapter and c) number of counties in the chapter. It was anticipated that chapters serving more than one county would continue to recruit members to help offset the increased affiliation fee.

When the State Arc office flooded and subsequently was sold, the detailed proceedings of the group was lost. In general, all chapters of The Arc in Iowa were receiving United Fund (now United Way) dollars and supported their affiliation in this manner. However, in recent years United Way has expected outcomes associated with any disbursements. Some chapters have been reduced or eliminated. Many chapters had not kept up with obtaining memberships so when the money stopped from United Way, many chapters felt they could not ask for memberships – weakening them further.

Current Situation

The Arc of Iowa has been operating on a shoestring. It has a half time executive director. The Board is very engaged and is doing what it can as volunteers. The budget is modest (less than $200,000). The saving grace has been a decision to place vending machines to develop a stream of income that over time can grow and create more funds to support the mission. The budget is currently dependent on affiliation dues and member fees. Some chapters have been only able to send minimal dollars because of their own circumstances. Some chapters have been faithful in affiliation dues and monthly membership fees are continuous.


The Arc chapters are all part of the association and should be considered vested and interested partners. What is the value of The Arc of the United States? What is the value of The Arc of Iowa? What value does a local chapter give its members? If there were no Arc’s in the State of Iowa, would the state of people with IDD be just as good as it is today? What agency is considered the premier advocate in Iowa? Who would work with self advocates? What is the role of each group?

If there is value to being part of a national movement that is recognized as the largest volunteer organization in the world supporting people with IDD, what can we do in Iowa to sustain chapters (local and state) and make the mission strong once again?

in 2020, to facilitate answers to these questions and to come to some common understanding, The Arc of Iowa convened a work group and now we are implement that process. We are using the information and replicating ideas from other state chapters on how they have organized themselves and how we can best lead The Arc of Iowa forward into the future. We want to have a strong and resilient chapter that is recognized for its advocacy efforts locally and across the nation.


To make the most of our efforts, we need your help to build the best Arc. 

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