Annually, the Ames Human Relations Commission awards the Humanitarian Award to an individual or program whose contributions to the community demonstrate extraordinary quality, especially in efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. We're honored to have our team member, Anneke Mundel, as the recipient for the 2022 award. Anneke, along with a group of 24 volunteer community members, worked to create the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants in the early pandemic months, when it was clear the need was great. Over the nearly two years of its existence, the Fund raised $374,435 to be distributed to local immigrants for rent and utility assistance. The press release of the award from the City of Ames is detailed below.
Human Relations Commission Names Humanitarian Award Recipients
The Ames Human Relations Commission selected Anneke Mundel and the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants to each receive its 2022 Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes and honors a worthy individual or program whose contributions to the Ames community demonstrate extraordinary quality, especially in efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. Jahmai Fisher, chair of the Human Relations Commission, presented the awards at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration held Monday, Jan. 17.
Anneke Mundel has been promoting understanding between people throughout her career, having worked alongside Native Americans on several Paiute-Shoshone reservations prior to coming to Iowa, and as an educator at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) working to recruit and retain a diverse student body.
Mundel joined the team at United Way of Story County in 2019. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she understood the impact it would have on marginalized populations and worked with the faith-based community to form the Story County Immigrant Coalition. The fund raised $374,435 in donations to help families with rent and utility assistance and internet access.
In addition to her work with the coalition, Mundel serves on the Equity Committee at United Way and served on the Ames Human Relations Commission from 2017-2018.
The COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants was organized soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact county residents who were ineligible for government support programs, many of whom had lost their employment or worked in low wage jobs most impacted by the disease.
A group of 24 community volunteers worked with faith organizations, foundations, and individuals to solicit funds and develop an application process for distributing these funds. United Way of Story County provided advice and assistance, and St. Cecilia Parish served as the nonprofit home for the fund. The protocol developed to distribute funds focused on rent and utility assistance, and bilingual volunteers were recruited to work directly with applicants to assess their needs.
All donated funds were dispersed to applicants; none of the donated funds were used for any organizing expenses. As of November 2021, assistance had been provided to 125 individual households. Because many of the families had been able to return to work and no longer needed financial assistance, the committee ended the fund on Dec. 31, 2021.
From left, Ames Human Relations Commission Member Wayne Clinton, Humanitarian Award winners Susan Benner and Nancy Heideman, representing the Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants; Humanitarian Award winner Anneke Mundel; and Ames Human Relations Commission Chair Jahmai Fisher. In back, David Hansen, representing the Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants.
Press release via The City of Ames. https://www.cityofames.org/Home/Components/News/News/6573/2106