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Des Moines Legacy Foundation LEGACY Award 2017

Congratulations to Laura Hartema. She has been chosen by the Des Moines Legacy Foundation board of directors to receive the foundation's inaugural LEGACY Award. The award is in the form of a glass flame, signifying the positive force of an outstanding community volunteer in changing the needs of our community through selfless leadership through parks, recreation and senior services.

Laura has been the director of Friends of Des Moines Creek for nearly two decades. Her focus has been on protecting the stream buffer, removing invasives and replanting with native plants to reduce erosion, protect trees from English ivy, and improve fish and wildlife habitat.

Laura, a vivacious woman, was surprised by the award. "Being a local ecologist, I enjoy the many volunteers who pitch in to improve our community and Des Moines Creek. All types have volunteered, from high schools, colleges, churches, and other community groups. It is a tough task to control invasive, non-invasive vegetation along the creek and maintain a healthy buffer. Native plants help prevent erosion, improve water quality, and provide shade and cover for salmon."

Laura maintains a volunteer website and has contributed various Ask an Ecologist articles for the Des Moines City Currents magazine for the past two years. I asked Laura what she wanted to convey to the community about preserving the environment; "I write articles to bridge the environment with our community," she answered. "I want to show people how their actions matter. Each of us can do a small part to care for and maintain a healthy environment. We live in a small community, but collectively, we make up a greater planet."

I was delighted to learn she has written a book. "I spent three months as the sole woman scientist working alongside twenty-five men on a commercial fishing vessel in Alaska," Laura said. "My memoir is titled, "Bering Sea Strong: Sometimes A Woman Has to Board a Fishing Boat to Find Herself." When the book comes out in March 2018, I will look for it on Amazon. To follow Laura and her progress, go to

We feel lucky and appreciative to Laura for giving her expert knowledge and labor to make a difference in our community's environment. The Des Moines Legacy Foundation is to be complimented for recognizing and publicly awarding a special award to a volunteer like Laura Hartema. Thank you Laura,from all of us.

Laura was presented her LEGACY Award at the first Des Moines Arts Commission Summer Concert, Destination Des Moines Smoke on the Water BBQ, and Des Moines Legacy Foundation's Bids for Kids at Des Moines Beach Park on Wednesday evening, July 12th by president of the Des Moines Legacy Foundation, Gene Achziger. 2018 LEGACY Award nomination forms will be available to the community in January 2018.
Written by: Lillian Claunch

Des Moines Legacy Foundation Launches a Citywide Playground Project Community Campaign

The Des Moines Citywide Playground Project approved by City Council in March of this year will provide the designs to repair and replace play structures at seven of Des Moines Parks and to create a new play area at Steven J. Underwood Memorial Park. This action is the first of many steps that will be taken within the next three years to restore City's aging park play areas.

Playground Challenges
The play equipment located at Cecil Powell Neighborhood Park was removed due to safety concerns in 2013 and the neighborhood has asked for the equipment to be replaced. The removal of play equipment at Kiddie Park, Westwood Park and Wooton Park is also eminent, likely within the next year or two. And, there is strong community support for play areas to be installed at Des Moines Beach Park where the play area was removed over a decade ago due to flooding and infrastructure repairs and at Steven J. Underwood Memorial Park where a play area has not been installed due to lack of funding. The City's challenge is the lack of funding resources to make the necessary improvements.

The removal of the Cecil Powell Park play area is a big loss to my neighborhood. It was the safe gathering place where my family and neighbors met to play and get to know each other. The removal of the play structure was devastating to me and my sense of community. That is why my family and Powell Homes have made contributions to the Legacy Foundation to help to have it replaced.
— Brandie Holmes- Neighborhood Park Advocate

Tree of Life!

The Des Moines Legacy Foundation is excited to announce we have purchased The Tree of Life, a beautiful piece of art that resides outside of the Des Moines Activity Center off of 216th Street in Des Moines. The piece of art was created by local artist Kris Vermeer.

We purchased, The Tree of Life, for its beauty, location and specifically because of the title and what the Des Moines Legacy Foundation helps provide at the activity center for senior adults. It fits perfectly with part of our mission which is to "Improve, and create community and park and recreation services."

Kris has stated "It's an honor to have the Tree of Life be part of Des Moines!" and we couldn't agree more!

Meals on Wheels Freezers!

The Des Moines Legacy Foundation plays a large role in our cities Meals on Wheels for Seniors Program. This program is housed and run out of the Des Moines Activity Center. We purchased a large freezer back in 2012 and donated it to the program. The Meals on Wheels Program has grown with more need for meals and we have just purchased and donated ANOTHER freezer to accommodate the growing demand! We are proud to help such a worthy program provide nutritious meals to seniors in need!

Coloring Books & Mosaics Class!

The Des Moines Legacy Foundation supports many Senior Activities by purchasing and donating classes, training, materials and supplies for Seniors at the Des Moines Activity Center. Our latest activities include a 6 week Mosaics Class at the Des Moines Activity Center where seniors will be taught skills and techniques and then actually create their own small mosaics! Another activity adventure includes Adult Coloring Books and scheduled Coloring Book Time at the Activity Center so Seniors can ease stress, unplug, relax or mingle with friends! All of these activities are offered to our Seniors at little or no cost to those participating!

Feel Good Friday Segment on King5 News

Featuring one of our volunteers, Dick Body, and his participation in the Meals on Wheels Program that runs out of the Des Moines Activity Center and is supported in part by the Des Moines Legacy Foundation.
See King5 Video

Our nutrition program volunteers are HAPPY with our new 2015 Vulcan Stove purchased with Bayside Brunch Funds by the Des Moines Legacy Foundation. Installed Sunday, May 3, at Des Moines/Normandy Park Senior Activity Center, the new stove replaces a 1964 stove that was way past its prime to cook daily nutritious meals for seniors sixty and older. THANK YOU DES MOINES LEGACY FOUNDATION AND TO ALL OF OUR BAYSIDE BRUNCH SUPPORTERS…..especially Anthony's HomePort!!

Des Moines Legacy Foundation Funds Dance for Parkinsons

Recent participant surveys from the Des Moines Legacy Foundation funded Dance for Parkinson's class share the following highly rated comments:

"I have a greater sense of body control, strength and flexibility, I have enjoyed the social engagement and meeting new people in the classes, My mental and physical health and well being has improved, I feel more positive in my daily life, I connected with my imagination and creative side; I would enjoy taking more Dance for Parksinson's classes."

Dance for Parkinson's is an eight week free program for senior adults who have movement issues. Taught by professional dancers from Seattle Theatre Group, the program is in its fourth year in Des Moines, held at Des Moines/Normandy Park Activity Center. Offered three sessions per year, the music is "live" and so is the laughter!

Sonju Community Garden Partners With United Way for the 2014 Day of Caring

Eighty-six volunteers from the Sonju Community Garden, Microsoft, and King County Library Systems worked all day Friday, September 19, to clear brush, pick apples, make new pea patch plots, and paint two fantastic art windows on the barn. Thanks to their efforts, the garden and orchard are tidy and ready for winter. Partnerships such as this, in addition to our sponsorship by the Des Moines Legacy Foundation and other community members, and the City of Des Moines, make our garden grow! Thank you!

Click On Images

Des Moines Arts Commission

The Des Moines Legacy Foundation is proud to be a sponsor of the Des Moines Beach Park Summer Concerts. Funds from the Des Moines Legacy Foundation paid for the Honor Aging Mural in downtown Des Moines.
  • Rotating Sculpture Project
  • Summer Concerts in the Park (Des Moines Beach Park)
  • Honor Aging Mural in downtown Des Moines

Park Improvements

Park improvements in Des Moines are a top priority to ensure our foundation's vision and mission. We are proud of what the foundation has provided to date:
  • Grandstand at Field House Park
  • Steven J. Underwood Ball field
  • Big Toy playground at Water Tower Park
  • Memorial Bench program
  • Grants for improvements at Midway Park, Wooton Park, Des Moines Beach Park and Des Moines Field House

Facility Improvements

Funds provided by the foundation have built improved and enhanced additions to the activity center:
  • Large outdoor patio and public garden
  • Outdoor patio furniture
  • Storage closet addition
  • Flag pole

Equipment and Supplies

Des Moines Legacy Foundation works hard to provide equipment and supplies critical to our parks, recreation and senior services programs, when city funds are not available.
  • Washer/dryer for the senior center nutrition program
  • New freezer for the Meals on Wheels program
  • Medical lending equipment for the lending closet at the senior center
  • New coffee system for the senior center
  • Emergency kits for low income seniors
  • Defibrillators for the Field House and the Activity Center
  • Wheelchair restraint system for the Senior Shuttle transportation program
  • Fourteen passenger bus for the recreation and senior services programs
  • Support and staffing for the Food Bank summer lunch programs
  • Community Reader Board at the activity center
  • Senior softball team equipment
  • New 55" smart TV for the activity center Wii athletes
  • Lobby furniture for the activity center
  • Special event supplies and equipment
  • Special chair for senior foot care program


  • Dance for Parkinson's
  • Youth Recreation scholarships
  • Seniors Creating art
  • Hot Lunches and Meals on wheels healthy food supplements at Des Moines Senior Center
  • Medical Lending
  • Participation scholarships for older adults
  • Volunteer Appreciation
  • Senior Dental Screenings
  • Senior HYDE shuttle transportation
  • Senior Sunday Dances
  • Take Back Your Meds
  • Senior foot care scholarships

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Des Moines Legacy Foundation - Tax ID #91-2019863
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