Throughout the years, Ankeny Leadership Institute classes have identified needs in the community and worked with community businesses and organizations to help address these needs. Below are some examples of what past classes have accomplished for their projects.


Engage Ankeny

Class of 2019

 2019 Engage Ankeny Meeting

The ALI Class of 2019 organized an event and organization connecting our local nonprofits with the community to spread awareness of the resources they offer and the ways people can give back. The events held are designed to break down the barriers of communication and build our community up. Visit to find out more.





On With Life Garden Planters & Ankeny Service Center Golf Outing

Class of 2018

on with life gardensankeny service center donation

The ALI Class of 2018 completed two projects supporting On With Life and the Ankeny Service Center. The class created three garden planters which were made to accommodate wheelchairs and will assist in the rehabilitation process of the patients served at On With Life in the new Sensory Garden. All materials and products needed were donated. The group also chose to assist the Ankeny Service Center by organizing a golf outing raising nearly $8000. They also assisted in updating marketing materials.



Police Honor / Memorial Wall 

Class of 2017

police station memorial

The ALI Class of 2017 conceptualized, fundraised and executed a memorial wall for the retired and fallen police officers of the Ankeny Police Department. The project included enough blank space for many more retirees – enough so that the boards will outlast the building the police department is currently in. Any new additions to the board will be done through the Police Benevolent Committee and Fund.



Play It Forward 

Class of 2016

ALI class of 2016 began a program where used sports equipment was and continues to be collected from the community. Following the collection, a drive for community members in need allow them to select the used equipment necessary for their children to participate in various sports. Ankeny Parks & Recreation continues this program with help from local organizations as donation sites.



The Ankeny Klothing Exchange (T.A.K.E.) remodel & Little Free Libraries 

Class of 2015

Little Free Libraries

The ALI class of 2015 elected to tackle two separate projects. The first was to remodel the T.A.K.E. service facility located in the Neveln Center in the Uptown Ankeny area. The service provides clothing, household goods and other donated items to citizens at no cost. To help lift spirits of those coming into the facility and to provide better organization for those working there, everything was initially removed from the facility and then a new floor was put down, everything was repainted, new window decor was created and installed and a re-organization of content was completed.

The second was to help enhance access to reading material for Ankeny residents in a fun and convenient manner by building and installing Little Free Libraries around the community in places that have foot traffic but are not near the public library. Citizens and retired teachers volunteered to be hosts and caretakers for a little free library, and altogether five were installed and stocked thanks to around 500 books that were donated by those in the Ankeny community.



Inspire Ankeny

Class of 2014

Inspire Ankeny

The 2014 ALI class launched Inspire Ankeny, a Pay-It-Forward campaign, aimed at igniting the giving spirit of Ankeny. Through social media and participation from local leaders, businesses, non-profit organizations and schools, the campaign encouraged community-wide involvement in random acts of kindness. The campaign challenged the residents of Ankeny, and the Greater Des Moines area, to join together during the month of April to Pay It Forward. Inspire Ankeny recruited more than 40 community members as Inspire Ankeny Ambassadors who are charged with spreading the Pay-It-Forward message and completing their own projects.



Art For Ankeny

Class of 2013

Art for Ankeny

ALI class of 2013 began “Art For Ankeny” which is a fundraising organization that is dedicated to commissioning an iconic, destination-caliber public art installation in the heart of Ankeny. The Ankeny Foundation is working with this group in its continued efforts to continue this project.



Ankeny Backpack Buddies Program

Class of 2011

Backpack Buddies lunch bag packing
Backpack Buddies lunch bag packing by youth

ALI Class of 2011 identified a need (increasing numbers of Ankeny Schools students eligible for free and reduced meals, thus, increasing rate of food insecurity), researched and found an already-established national program, and got Ankeny Schools on board to work with Food Bank of Iowa in getting the service to Ankeny. ALI volunteers currently continue to provide support, but Ankeny Schools has direct control which ensures sustainability long term.