Young Leaders Society

YLS members volunteering

YLS May Day
YLS members make May Day baskets with our friends at Friendship Ark!


United Way of Story County created the Young Leaders Society (YLS) in 2011 to engage and educate professionals under the age of 40. YLS's threshold of $250 helps young professionals grow in philanthropy.
YLS contributions further the mission of United Way of Story County and impact 30,000 people in Story County by supporting more than 90 core programs, three community impact areas, and a grants program for emergencies and emerging needs.


Join Young Leaders Society (YLS) and participate in year-round engagement opportunities including educational sessions and volunteer activities. 

Required to join:

  • Open for ages 40 and younger
  • $250 annually to sustain your membership in YLS



Kristin Pates

Campaign Director


YLS Day of Caring
The YLS 2019 Day of Caring team, working hard!

YLS Co-Chairs

Michael McCool, Mary Greeley Medical Center

Jessica Mortvedt, Haverkamp Properties

Committee Members

Chelsey Aisenbrey, Ames Lab 

Rachel Behrens, Workiva

Josh Carper, ISU Athletics

Amber Deardorff, Mary Greeley Medical Center

Grace Feilmeier, Renewable Energy Group

Tillie Good, ISU Office of Extension and Outreach


Akelo Harris, ISU Office of the Sr Vice President and Provost

Nick Johnson, Ames Ford Lincoln

Lisa Oxley, State Bank and Trust

AJ Pollard, Renewable Energy Group

Jenni Talbott, McFarland Clinic 

Kristin Pates, United Way of Story County

Volunteer to Stop Summer Learning Loss

July 24, 31 and August 7

11:15am - 12:30 pm, Meeker Elementary, Mitchell Elementary, Sawyer Elementary, and Ames Public Library

United Way of Story County is partnering with Ames Community School District, Ames Public Library, and Rotary of Ames to distribute free books each week at the grab and go meal sites in Ames. We are looking for volunteers to help distribute books for youth in grades PK-12 at all four sites. The book distribution is held outside in the parking lot near the grab and go meal locations. Everything is contactless, as the caregiver will pull up and indicate how many books per grade level are needed (1 per child per week). All books are packaged and labeled, making this easy for volunteers! Sign up here or email Malai Amfahr at


YLS at UWSC Kickoff

Sept 11

Location and time TBD

Annually, YLS comes together at the UWSC Kickoff event to partake in the excitement of beginning the campaign, and follows that up with getting. their hands dirty with Day of Caring. Since this year will be unlike any other, stay tuned as we revamp our plans to adjust to our current landscape.

Innovation in stopping summer learning loss

June 4 at 9am

Virtual Meeting

Summer learning loss, or “summer slide”, is the achievement gap that happens for youth over the months when school is not in session. Research commissioned by the Wallace Foundation has consistently demonstrated “summer slide” disproportionately impacts youth who are from low-income families more negatively than their peers.

United Way of Story County has addressed this serious issue with collaborative programs since 2013 through the work of our education coalition Story County Reads. The seriousness of summer learning loss underscores how our teams are working to address even more anticipated learning loss that is occurring because of Covid-19 and the closures of public schools since mid-March. We will explore the role inequity plays on learning loss, specific program efforts in Story County to counter “summer slide”, and opportunities for how you can be involved.  

United Way Response and Recovery: Connecting our Community Amid Covid-19

April, 16 at 4pm

Virtual Meeting

Please join us for a YLS member update to hear how United Way is the leading the response for community needs during the current pandemic. We promise a brief presentation and time for your questions. Finally, we will finish our time together with a call to action on how you can continue to be part of the movement to LIVE UNITED.


September 13, 2019 - Volunteer with YLS for Day of Caring

Are you ready to get your very own 2019 LIVE UNITED t-shirt? Join the YLS Day of Caring team! We'll be attending the kickoff breakfast together at 7:30 at the Plex, and then heading over to LSI to help with maintenance on their grounds from 9-12. We'd love for you to be a part of the team!

United Way Kickoff - 7:30am on September 13 at The Plex

YLS Day of Caring Project - 9:00am-Noon on September 13 at LSI


August 13, 2019 - Learn about the Healthy Life Center

The Young Leaders Society Committee invites you to join us for an informational session on the proposed Healthy Life Center project. Health, of course, is one of United Way's pillars with education and financial stability being the other two. Attending this meeting will give members and potential members the opportunity to learn about and ask questions regarding a project that has the potential to create opportunities for increased health in Story County and also be utilized by many partner agencies. 

Tuesday, August 13 from 4:00-5:00pm

United Way of Story County Conference Room, 315 Clark Ave, Ames


July 18, 2019 - Practice Makes Perfect Event at Sukup

The Young Leaders Society Committee invites you to join us at Sukup Basketball Complex to hear how "practice makes perfect" with United Way. The event will bring together philanthropists age 40 and under to see the BIG difference the YLS group is making in the lives of many.

Program will feature:

  • Behind the scenes tours of Sukup Basketball Complex

  • An address from Coach Prohm

  • Impact speakers from funded programs

  • Complimentary lunch for attendees

Thursday, July 18 from 12:00-1:00pm

Sukup Basketball Complex, 1011 S Dakota Ave, Ames, IA 50014

RSVP required. 


April 30, 2019 - Volunteer with us as we host Friendship Ark Homes

YLS is hosting a May Basket event for our friends at Friendship Ark Homes!  Friendship Ark provides homes for persons with intellectual disabilities that celebrate their uniqueness and helps them reach their fullest potential. For this May Day volunteer opportunity, YLS members will help prep and restock supplies for attendees from Friendship Ark Homes while they create fun baskets. Friendship Ark then plans to deliver their creations to nursing homes the next day. Your assistance in the project will help make a memorable experience for all!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 from 9:45-11:15

United Way of Story County, 315 Clark Ave, Ames, Iowa 50010


April 3, 2019 - Joint Tocqueville/YLS Appreciation

Members are invited to join us for an exclusive evening for our Tocqueville Society donors ($10,000+) and Young Leader Society members at Brush (formerly Creative Spirits).  There will be hosted appetizers, custom art, and a short program at 5:20pm. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 5-6p

Brush, 4820 Mortensen Road, Ames, Iowa 50014


February 27, 2019 - YLS Mental Health Resources Panel 

Join YLS for a panel discussion on the growing issue of mental health needs.  Learn the new ways organizations are meeting those needs and referring to United Way funded programs.  The panel will include representatives from Mary Greeley Medical Center, McFarland Clinic, and Ames Community School District.  Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the complexity of providing mental health care and resources available in our community. 

Wednesday, February 27 at 12:00pm

Mary Greeley Medical Center  Atrium A Conference Room

(Parking available in ramp; room is just off of the sky walk.) 

Complimentary lunch for members.

RSVP to Kristin here.