Category Archives: News

Media Release – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center announces staff growth and changes

For Immediate Release

For more information contact Terri Speirs, Director of Community Relations, 515-251-6670 or email

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center announces staff growth and changes

Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, Director of Development

July 31, 2019, Des Moines, IA – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (the Center) has hired Laurie Betts Sloterdyk as the director of development, as of July 8, 2019. Terri Mork Speirs has been promoted to director of community relations. The two will collaborate to grow the Center’s donor base, communicate hope and healing, create partnerships, and advance the mission of mental health counseling and education in Central Iowa.

“Joining the Center’s staff offers me a way to be a force for good in a city I love,” said Sloterdyk. “The Center’s commitments to excellence and access are important to me. I can’t wait to help community members channel goodwill in ways that are meaningful to their values.”

“We are excited to move boldly forward with Laurie on staff,” said Jim Hayes, the Center’s executive director. “Laurie’s tremendous competence with events and donor relations is exactly what the Center needs right now to reach our next level of innovation in serving the community. I am grateful to our amazing donor base who make our mission possible, and to our board of directors for their visionary leadership.”

Terri Mork Speirs, Director of Community Relations

“I am thrilled to welcome Laurie to the team,” said Speirs, who has been with the Center since 2015. “For years Laurie has volunteered with our flourishing annual spring luncheon, Women Helping Women, lending her considerable skills for the cause. It is my privilege to join together with such a pro as Laurie to further engage stakeholders for the greater common good.”

Sloterdyk and Speirs bring a combined 47-plus years of nonprofit experience to the Center, an interesting fit to mark the Center’s growth and changes in its 47 years of operation. Founded in 1972, the Center opened its doors with a staff of one counselor. Today, the Center serves a diverse client base through a multidisciplinary staff of 30 clinicians plus a team of steadfast administrators and support staff. The Center was founded on the ideal of providing high quality mental health services to clients from all walks of life, including those from low-income households who are underinsured – a pursuit made possible through a dedicated and generous donor base. #

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to bring understanding, hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education. Annually, the Center serves more than 2,600 individuals through holistic counseling and other clinical services (including nearly 700 children and adolescents). Additionally, the Center serves more than 2,400 individuals annually through education and training services.

Media Release – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is awarded $45,000 from Prairie Meadows

For Immediate Release

For more information contact
Terri Speirs, Director of Community Relations
515 – 251-6670 or email

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is awarded $45,000 from Prairie Meadows for technology updates and innovation

July 9, 2019, Des Moines, IA – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (the Center) has been awarded a $45,000 Prairie Meadows Community Betterment grant. Funding will provide critical medical technology upgrades for the Center’s 30-clinician-strong practice to maintain HIPAA compliance and ensure data security. Funds will also launch a new initiative at the Center, integrating digital tablets to assess therapeutic metrics and increase client satisfaction. The project is expected to be completed in early 2020.

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

“Thank you to Prairie Meadows for this tremendous boost for our clients and counselors,” said Jim Hayes, the Center’s Executive Director. “Thousands of individuals in Central Iowa will benefit from this generosity.”

Every single person in Iowa is affected by mental health issues. Whether episodic depression, complex trauma or chronic anxiety – psychological concerns are serious and can be life threatening. The needs impact families, businesses, schools and our entire community. However Iowa ranks among the lowest in the nation for providing adequate access to mental health services.

People from all walks of life choose the Center to help manage their mental health needs, although the Center is one of the few metro providers serving individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. As a nonprofit organization, 100 percent of the Center’s board and staff donate resources to support the Center’s mission.

Hayes continued: “The needs in Iowa are great and yet there is hope. I am so proud of the excellence that our clinicians bring on a daily basis. Our long-standing partnership with Prairie Meadows further strengthens our ability to serve the community with innovation and integrity.”

“At Prairie Meadows, we are dedicated to transforming the lives of those living in Central Iowa. We are proud and excited to support this and many other projects in our community,” said Julie Stewart, Prairie Meadows’ Director of Community Relations.

To date, Prairie Meadows has given $1.8 billion to the state of Iowa, with more than $803 million remaining right here in Polk County.

Founded in 1972, the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to bring understanding, hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education. The Center serves more than 2,600 individuals annually through holistic counseling and other clinical services (including nearly 700 children and adolescents). Additionally, the Center serves more than 2,400 individuals through education and training services. #

Thank you to our 2018 donors!

Click image to launch 2018 Annual Report Summary

We gratefully acknowledge and thank all who so kindly contributed to the Center in 2018. This generosity brings hope and healing to children, teens and adults in need of high quality mental health services.

CHAMPIONS ($20,000+)
Fred Maytag Family Foundation
Polk County Board of Supervisors

VISIONARIES ($10,000 – 19,999)
American Enterprise Group
Mary and Doug Bruce
Sandra and C. Dean Carlson
Delta Dental of Iowa
Douglas A. Fick
Sammons Financial Group

PATRONS ($5,000 – $9,999)
Robert Burnett
BWA Foundation
Susan and Bill Knapp
Prairie Meadows
Kay and Bob Riley
The Viking Foundation of Lincoln
West Bancorporation Foundation, Inc.
Wells Fargo
Connie Wimer and Frank Fogarty
Sally T. Wood

HEALERS ($2,500 – $4,999)
Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey
Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation
Sharon and Dennis Goldford
Mary Gottschalk and Kent Zimmerman
Sally and Tom Graf
Kathleen and Larry Zimpleman

NURTURERS ($1,000 – $2,499)
Teresa Adams-Tomka
Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure
Sandra L. and Rev. Paul R. Axness
Roxanne Barton Conlin and Jim Conlin
Dr. Barbara Beatty
Borgen Systems
Elizabeth Burmeister
Beth and Tim Coonan
Patty and Jim Cownie
Des Moines University
Paula Duncan
Easter Family Fund
Sondra Eddings
Kathy and William Fehrman
Jann Freed and John Fisher
Judith and Marshall Flapan
Ann Flood
Foster Group
Full Court Press / Iowa Taproom
Barbara and Michael Gartner
Janet and Gary Goodhall
Elizabeth Goodwin
John and Jeannine Hayes
Sarah and Jim Hayes
Diane Hedden
Starr and Harry Hinrichs
Trudy Holman Hurd
Ann and Thomas Holme
Charlotte and Fred Hubbell
Ellen and James Hubbell
Rusty Hubbell
Iowa Foundation for Education, Environment, and the Arts
Iowa Radiology
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
Dianne and Roger Jones
Charlotte Kimball
Linda and Tom Koehn
Mary Kramer
Mary Langen
Virginia and Nix Lauridsen
Janet Linn
Nancy Main
Sara and Steve Marquardt
LaDonna and Rich Matthes
Meredith Corporation
Karla and Mark Minear
Brenda and Dr. Bernard Mouw
Doris Jean and Owen J. Newlin
Jill and Mark Oman
Orchestrate Hospitality
Mary and John Pappajohn
Stephanie Pearl
Shirley Poertner
Ann and Dr. Michael Richards
Mary Riche
Kelle and Pat Rolfes
Janis Ruan and Mr. John Ruan III
Salon Spa W
Jackie Saunders and Cecil Goettsch
Mary and Stanley Seidler
Dr. Rebecca and Dr. Robert Shaw
Kathy and Ted Stuart
Mary H. Stuart and David Yepsen
Nanette D. Stubbs
Marsha Ternus
The IMT Group
The Iowa Clinic Women’s Center
Thrivent Financial
Toni and Tim Urban
Teresa Van Vleet-Danos
Susan and Carl Voss
Charlene and Mark Vukovich
Marti Wade and Benjamin B Ullem
Rhonda and Joe Watton
West Bank
Alan Zuckert

ADVOCATES ($500 – $999)
Accents + Interiors
Anonymous Anonymous
Christine Bening
Margaret and Arden Borgen
Phyllis and Richard Cacciatore
Bonnie Campbell and Mark Hamilton
Central Presbyterian Church
Carol Corning Hallquist
Davis Brown Law Firm
Davis Brown Law Firm
Lynn Ekblad
First Christian Church
First Christian Church
Deniz Franke
Rosalie Gallagher
Barbara Graham
Lori and Larry Hartsook
Trudie and Hal Higgs
Norma J. Hirsch
Kathleen Hoegh
Connie and Richard Isaacson
Josephs Jewelers
Anne M. and E.J. Kelly
Kemin Industries, Inc.
Jennie Legates and Fritz Wehrenberg
Marian and Ivan Lyddon
Ann Lyons
Rachel and Bill McDonough
Matt Meline
Robyn and Bret Mills
Diane H. Morain
Dawn Connet and Greg Nichols
Barbara and Andy Nish
Rep. Jo Oldson and Brice Oakley
Lynsey Oster
Marianne Parrs
Claudia and Brad Peyton
Deb and Bob Pulver Foundation
Janet and Mark Rosenbury
Sam Scheidler
Melanie Scupham
Judith and Larry Sheldon
Hallie and David Still-Caris
Sarah Sullivan Bigelow and Nicholas Bigelow
Veridian Credit Union
Wells Fargo Advisors
Amy Wimer
Annabel Wimer
Dr. Carey Wimer and Dr. Sean Cunningham
Kathy and Steve Zumbach

SUPPORTERS ($250 – $499)
Susan and Mark Ackelson
Robin Ahnen-Cacciatore and John Cacciatore
Linda and Bob Anderson
Becky Anthony
Stephanie Asklof
Barbara and John Bachman
Susan Ballard
Mary Ann Beard
Connie and Steve Beasley
Doris R. Beebe
Kris Benge
Sandy Benson Johnson
Jan Berg
Jan and Frank Berlin
Kathryn and Tom Bernau
Carol Bodensteiner
Christie and Bob Boesen
Meredith and J.R. Boesen
Nancy Bone
Mary Boote Roth
Mary and Bob Brooks
Michele and Tom Brown
Jamie Buelt
Randi Carr
Kevin Carroll
Espnola Cartmill
LaNae Ceryanec
Joyce and Rick Chapman
John and Holly Clark
Polly Clark and Jim Slife
David and Alicia Claypool
Margaret-Ann and Joseph Comito
Julie Ann and Michael Connolly
Dave and Kristi Dawson
M.J. Dolan
Margaret and Kevin Doyle
Marsha and Ellery Duke
Lou Ebinger and Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger
David J. Egleston
Karen and Arnold Engman
Denise Essman
Lois and Dr. Louis Fingerman
Peggy Fisher and Larry Stelter
Fran Fleck and Terry Greenley
Jim and Allison Fleming
Beth Gaul
Mary Susan and Richard Gibson
Kathy and Scott Giles
Shawna and Paul Gisi
Debbie Gitchell
Diane Glass and J. Jeffrey Means
Suzie Glazer Burt
Linda Goeldner
Patricia and Larry Goetz
Judy Goodwin
Gina and Allan Graham
Bonnie Green
Jill Greiner
Norma Hanke
Lynn and Dr. William Heggen
Cara and Kurt Heiden
Babs and Doug Hein
Jill Hittner
Dixie and Will Hoekman
Michelle Hogan
Debbie and Michael Hubbell
Peggy Huppert
Bev and Michael Hutney
Marian Jacobs
Martha James and Michael Myszewski
Karen and Douglas L. Jeske
Linda Johnson
Connie Cook and Joe Jongewaard
Susan Judkins and Robert Josten
Maureen Keehnle
Suzan Kelsey Brooks
Sue and Ed Kenny
Kathi Koenig
Diane and Keith Krell
Mary and Charles Kunkel
Laden and Pearson, P.C.
Caroline Levine
Christine and Robert Lewis
Jennifer Lock Oman
Kristi Lund Lozier and Bill Lozier
Sharon and Susan Malheiro
Richard and Robbie Malm
Cyril and John Mandelbaum
Kate Massop
Diane and Arthur McClanahan
Claudette and Patrick J McDonald
Andrea and Dan McGuire
Jan and John Mechem
Shirl Melton
Rebecca and Brian Metzger
Ann Michelson
Lisa Minear
Jana Montgomery
Ann and Alfred Moore
Terri Mork Speirs and Robert Speirs
Debra Moyer
Ellen Nelson
Linda Neuman
Liz and Rick Neumann
Pauline and William Niebur
Roy and Mary Nilsen
Charlotte Noble
Nancy Nunn
Dennis and Sandy O’Brien
Jeanne and Jim O’Halloran
Sen. Janet Petersen and Brian Pattinson
Donna Paulsen and Tom Press
Gail Pearl
Sally Pederson and Jim Autry
Muriel and Jim Pemble
Rita Perea
Virginia Peterson
Paul Proksa
Kurt and Lynette Rasmussen
Martha A. Reno
Dixie Rhiner
Dennis Rhodes and Mary Kay Shanley
Dawn and Steve Roberts
Helen Robinson
Katherine and Charles Safris
Lou Ann and Kent Sandburg
Patrice Sayre
Renee and Steve Schaaf
Deb Wiley and John Schmidt
Pam Schoffner
Laurie and Ashley Sloterdyk
Annie S. Brandt and Matt Brandt
A. Joyce Smith
Sue and Larry Sonner
Betty Speas
St. John’s Lutheran Church
Stamatelos & Tollakson, PLLC
Joan Stark
State of Iowa One Gift Pgm
Rachel Stauffer and Jim Lawson
Beth Stelle Jones
Randi Stern
Ellen and Lawrence Strachota
Gail and David Stubbs
Cheryl and Steve Sypal
April Talbot
Sue Ann and Richard Tempero
Joyce and Harold Templeman
Rachel Thorson Mithelman and Jack Mithelman
Ashley Tollakson
Karen and Robert Unrau
Terri Vaughan and Bob Carter
Susan Vujnovich-McRoberts
Marilyn Warling
Linda and William Weidmaier
Karrie and Mark Weinhardt
Michele and Steve Whitty
Malinda Wiesner Hammerstrom
Jean and Robert Williams
Emily Williams-Bouska
Dr. Judy Winkelpleck
Kyrie Wong
Christine and Tony Woods
Roberta and Reg Yoder

FRIENDS ($100 – $249)
Sophia Ahmad and John Helmich
Terra and Jay Amundson
Rep. Marti Anderson and Bob Brammer
Chrystal and James Austin
Leslie Babich
Lori Baker
Mollie and Britt Baker
Jennifer Barp
Michelle Bartusek
Marcia Baumhover
Joan Betts
Patricia Boddy and Robert Davis
Michelle Book
Cynthia Bowen
Judy Bradshaw
Katie Bradshaw
La Verne and Blaine Briggs Donor Advised Fund at the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation
Jane Brimmer
Rachel Bruns
Marilyn Burch
Judith Burns
Albert and Wilma Carter
Cindy Chicoine
Liz and James Chrisinger
Eva and David Christiansen
Kathleen Clark and Erika Ellenbogen
Mary and Milton Cole-Duvall
Evelyn and Kenneth Cook
Meg and Jeff Courter
Patricia and Jay Cramer
Judy Curtis-Latessa
Diane and Charles Cutler
Rachel Dahlen
Troy DeJoode
Elaine Dekovic
Lori and Tim Diebel
Amy Donnelly
Richard and Cris Douglass
Louisa Dykstra
The Middleton Family
Ruth Foster
Shayla and Joel From
Katherine Gamble
Martha Gelhaus and Kevin Pokorny
Priscilla Gilbert
Sandra Githens
Eve and Darrell Goodhue
Nancy Green
Nancy Greening
Gary and Nancy Guthrie
Kathleen Heinzel
Kelli Hill
Jack and Jennifer Hilmes
Brenda and Keith Hobson
Dr. Alex and Cooper Hubbell
Iowa Center for Economic Success
Linda Jennings
Peggy and Joseph Jester
Mary Josten
Megan and Lance Kading
Onnalee Kelley
Angelyn King
David King
Jenna and Izaah Knox
Lynn Knudsen
Susan Koehler
Claire Lamb
Kristen and Joseph Lee
Teri Legg
Angela Loomis
Susan Maher
Ali Makris
Margaret Mallgren
Meghan McConville
Lynn Z. and David G. Mc Creery
Cathy McMullen
Michael McNeil
Reo Menning
Debra Moore and Donn Stanley
Megan Moritz
Cindy Mumm
Maura Nelson and James Stick
Debbie O’Leary and Randy Bauer
Doris and Michael O’Malley
Katie Patterson
Cheryl and Dennis Pederson
Betty and Michael Perry
Susan and Earl Pierce
William Poland
Melissa Poley
Donni Popejoy
Meilssa Primus
Deanna Questad
Dr. Linda Railsback
Kathy Reardon
Michelle Reinert
Gail and Gary Rhodes
Jenny Richmond
Mary Ritchie
Maureen Roach Tobin and Terry Tobin
Tracy Rodgers
Audrey and Harlan Rosenberg
Julie Ross
Anne Roth
Linda and Ruben Rullan
Robert and Marcia Safirstein
Tom Sager
Debra and Neil Salowitz
Christine Sand
Jackie and Richard Seibert
Kimberly and Dr. Craig Shadur
Erica Shannon Stueve
Barb and Bruce Sherman
Marti Sivi
Meg and Chuck Smith
Amy and Bill Spangler-Dunning
Kelly and Kurt Sparks
Amanda Speirs
Cheryl Standing
Reverend David and Betty Stout
Paul H. Strayer, Jr.
Jan Stump
Emily Susanin Kessinger and Mason Kessinger
Mara Swanson
Susan and Anita Terry
Deb Tharnish and Nick Roby
John Tone
Robert Vedral
Ann-Charlotte Wade
Wakonda Christian Church
Cynthia and Kent Wanamaker
Kimberly Weis
Katie Wengert
West Des Moines Christian Church
Martha Willits
Dania Wilson
Windsor Presbyterian Church

COMPANIONS (gifts up to $99)
Colet and Jerry Abramovich
Susan and Charles Anderson
Beverly Apel
Jane Augspurger
Albert Augustine
Doug Aupperle
Erica Axiotis
Bank of America
Delores and Wayne Bauman
Teresa Baustian
Glenys Bittick Lynch
Betty and Merrill Blackburn
Judy Blank
Breakfast Exchange
Anne and Neil Broderick
Natalie Burnham
Ellen and John Burnquist
Marilyn and Frank Carroll
Deborah Cattoor
Diane and Tom Child
Azure and Zach Christensen
Sue Clark
Connie Conlin Newlin
Cris and Julius Conner
Sue Cosner and Gene Blanshan
Cheryl Critelli
Kay Crose
Mary Daily Lange
Teresa Daleske
Janet Daniels
Linda Dawe
Mary Day
Suzanna de Baca
John Dee
Tara Deering-Hansen
Kendall and Mike Dillon
Anonymous Donor
Mary Beth Drey
Linda (Chick) and Mike Duffy
Beth Ann and John Edwards
Julie and Bob Fleming
Jane and Eric Fogg
Carol Fredrich and John Fairweather
Mary Ann and Gene Gardner
Cindy Giunta
Patricia J. Goldberg
Phyllis Goodman
Mary and Randy Gordon
Mary Helen and David Grace
Kimberly Graham
Dennis Grohn
Ron and Sally Hampton
Carrie Hansen
Diana Hansen
Jan and Robert Hardin
Lisa Harms Rickets
Highland Park Christian Church
The Reverend Martha Hill
Heidi Hoffman
Karen and Larry Hoier
Sue and Nick Honkamp
Jody Ingersoll
Amanda Jansen
Nancy Johnson
Becky Kalitzki
Lou Lou Kane
Mary Ellen and James Kimball
Kristi and Lauren Knous
Wendy Knowles
Lois and Roger Kriebs
Gary Lewis
Linda Liston
Richard and Kaye Lozier
Elaine Lundstrom and David Yurdin
Barbara J. Lyford
Katherine Mahoney
Li and Justin Mandelbaum
Lynn and Paul Mankins
Judy McCoy Davis
Louise and Charles McDonald
Carol and Thomas McGarvey
Ramona McKee
Mary Ann and Eugene M. Meister
M. Ann Mendleson
Amy Mills
Polly Moore
Lynn Morse
Cheryl and Roscoe Morton
Marilyn Mullin
Mary and R.W. Nelson
Nancy and Ed Nichols
Jackie and John Norris
Laura and Rodell Nydam
William and Mary O’Brien
Carla and Chuck Offenburger
Catherine Olesen
Vickie Olsen
Cyndi Pederson
Allison and Timothy Peet
Linda Phillips
Linn Phillips
Peg and Layne Rasmussen
Barbara Reiff
Mary Anne and Bob Rennebohm
Wilma Richards
Sandy Riesberg
Sue Roberts
Cassie Sampson
Laura Sands and Dave Busiek
Priscilla Sayeed
Nicky and John Schissel
Barb and Mark Schmidt
Jill and Jack Schreiber
Susan Seidenfeld
Cinda Lu Shambaugh
Craig and Kathy Shives
Gina and Matthew Skinner-Thebo
Carol Sue Smith and Michael Slyby
Deanna Snyder
Siobhan Spain
Barbara and Paul Spong
Martha and John Squire
Heather and Jason Starr
Cynthia Steidl Bishop
Karen and Charles Stockton
Lu and Jim Stone
Carol Stratemeyer
Sr. Cathy Talarico
JoAnne Talarico, CHM
Mary Ann Tayloe
Ellen Taylor and Harvey Harrison
Bobbie Thies
Sheena and Frank Thomas
Reina Toledo
Cecilia J. Tomlonovic
Julie Triplett
Derek Trobaugh
Jill Trobaugh
Elaine Van Dyck
Mary Van Heukelom
Peri L. Van Tassel
Jan Vogel
Marie and Marvin Walker
James Waltrip
Susan Watts
Charyl Sue and Myron White
Jessica Wietzke
Dee Willemsen
Suzann and Wayne Wilson
Sam Wong
Tilly Woodward
JoAnn and Tom Zimmerman

HONOR GIFTS – Gifts were given in honor of:
Eleanor Bricker
Mary Bruce
Janet Carl
Eva Christiansen
Beth Coonan
Connie Wimer
Ellery Duke
Paula Duncan
Dena Goplerud
Mary Gottschalk and Kent Zimmerman
Hal Higgs
Diane McClanahan and Suzanne Stout
Karla and Mark Minear
Kathy Reardon
Andrea Severson
Diane McClanahan and Suzanne Stout
Connie Wimer

MEMORIAL GIFTS – Gift were given in memory of:
Joy Corning
Lizanne Dillon
Walt Githens
Winnie Hayes
Ray Speas

Gifts in Kind
Boxwoods Fine Furnishings
Business Publications Corporation
Connie Wilson Design
Des Moines Radio Group
Iowa Retail Packaging
La Mie Bakery
Susan Koehler
Nothing Bundt Cakes

Greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our donor list and gifts received between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. If we have made an error please contact Terri Speirs, Director of Development and Marketing at 515-271-6670 or

Media Release

2019 Women Helping Women speaker, Gina Skinner-Thebo, and honoree, Susan Voss inspired a crowd of more than 600 people. Click photo to link to full photo album. Credit: Whitney Warne, Ivory House Photography

For Immediate Release


For more information contact: 

Terri Speirs, Director of Development and Marketing, 515-251-6670 or email


Women Helping Women event raises $210,000 to provide mental health services for women and girls in need

May 20, 2019, Des Moines, IA – More than 600 people attended the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s 21st annual Women Helping Women Luncheon on May 17th which raised $210,000 to provide mental health counseling and education to underserved women and girls, helping to address the acute mental health issues in Central Iowa and beyond. This is the most money raised in the event’s history with the proceeds used to increase access to vitally important mental health services.

Young professional and keynote speaker, Gina Skinner-Thebo spoke poignantly of her personal experience with suicide, prompting her to transform her grief into positive action related to awareness and prevention of suicide. Gina founded the Atwood Center for Women, an organization to empower and connect women and help end isolation and self-doubt. The Atwood Center is best known for its Incredible Women Parties held throughout the metro area on a quarterly basis.

Community leader and mental health advocate, Susan Voss, was this year’s event honoree. Susan has given more than ten years of service to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center as both a Board member and Board President and is passionate about ensuring access and quality mental health care is available to all persons in need.

“This remarkable outpouring of generosity from the community will help provide critically important counseling sessions for vulnerable women and girls who would otherwise lack access to services,” said Terri Speirs, the Center’s director of development and marketing. “We are tremendously grateful to our sponsors, donors, attendees and volunteers who gave so much to make the event beautiful and meaningful.” 

Since 1998 the Center’s Women Helping Women luncheon has raised more than $1.2 million, providing access and care to thousands of women and girls – a population who experience poverty, crime and abuse at disproportionately high levels.

Founded in 1972, the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to bring hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education. The Center served more than 5,000 persons in 2018 including nearly 700 children and adolescents.


There’s still time to give. Your donation means so much to so many.DonateNow

Thank you West Bank!

Jim Hayes, Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, and Geoff Gade, Vice President, Commercial and Industrial Banking, West Bank

The Center was thrilled to receive a $5,000 grant award from West Bank to support C.O.O.L. (Children Overcoming the Obstacles of Life), the Center’s specialized mental health services for children and adolescents. COOL is a unique approach to counseling, integrating play, art, music, food, music, sports, nature and fun into the therapeutic process.
The Center is a nonprofit organization and is grateful for a broad base of community support to strengthen the mission to bring understanding, hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education.
This generous funding is critical to assisting children in Iowa who need high quality services. The need is demonstrated by the following statistics:
In Iowa:
  • 15 percent of children (ages 0-17) live under the poverty level. (Kids Count 2018)
  • 21 percent of children ages two to 17 with a parent who has been told by a doctor their child has autism, developmental delays, depression or anxiety, ADD/ADHD, or behavioral/conduct problems. (Kids Count 2018)
  • Approximately 50 percent of children who need mental health treatment do not receive the services needed. (The National Alliance on Mental Health, NAMI)
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15 — 34 years. (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017)
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 10-14 years. (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017)

The need for children’s mental health services is great. The Center’s C.O.O.L. clinic is honored to partner with West Bank to make a positive difference for children and families in Central Iowa.

It’s been a great year

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

December 2017 – A reflection by Jim Hayes, Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.


It’s been a great year.

December 5, 2016 I began my tenure at the executive director of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (DMPCC). I had the privilege of two weeks of sitting at the feet of Ellery Duke who served this institution for forty years. He didn’t quite impart all his wisdom in that time, but had a plane ticket, so had to depart for warmer climes on December 23, 2016. The way I see it, my tenure really began once everyone returned from holiday break on January 3, 2017.

It’s been a great year.

How do I capture all that is good about this place? It’s been a whirlwind for me personally and professionally, so putting my thoughts into a tidy box of memories hardly seems fair. One construct that works for me is all that we learned undergoing a strategic planning process ably led by our consultant Sheri Vohs, thanks to a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. During the process, we explored the “Value Proposition” of our work here at the Center. Let me reflect a bit on how I have witnessed one of those values lived out in the day to day lives of the many people connected to our organization.

People. It is clear to me on a daily basis that this place is special because of the people involved in our organization. It starts with our clients. They are courageous. They accept the responsibility of vulnerability in order to face whatever it takes to work on hope and healing in their lives. There are often stigmas to our work. These folks testify to the brokenness that is a part of each of us and that it’s ok to own the limitations and contingency of our lives and that by doing so in the context of a safe environment, we can all live more fully. Wow, that was a long sentence, read it again! One comment that came up during the planning process is that we meet people where they are and not as a problem that needs to be fixed–as a person who just needs someone to walk with them. We respect the people who come through our door and the values they bring with them. We love them rather than manage their issues. That’s a high bar and an important value added to our community.

People in our organization are talented. Clinicians, spiritual directors and all our staff live out our mission to bring understanding hope and healing to others each day. The quality of our staff and the diversity of our services make this place hum with activity. There is a tremendous amount of intellectual curiosity around this place. Folks are always trying to figure out how to get better. Our value of trying to serve as many people as possible regardless of ability to pay requires great sacrifice of time and resources. I am inspired by the commitment of my colleagues and have learned much from them in my first year. I thank them for grace and patience as we all grow as leaders in this field.

The value of people in our organization stretches well beyond the confines of this building. There are many stakeholders that contribute to our success: volunteers, friends, donors, foundations, politicians and anyone who recommends to a friend or family member that we can help. I have enjoyed meeting many of you and look forward to meeting many more. Thank you!

All of you contribute to other values that we had a hard time naming. Words like peaceful, holistic, and spirit came up. When pushed to the limit of words, I often resort to stories. As I head out of this place for a meeting or engagement in the community, I often hold the door for someone entering the Center and say hello. I respect their privacy and don’t make much small talk. There is still a connection, at least for me. I know that regardless of why they are here, for counseling, spiritual direction, scheduling a future appointment, addressing a question about a bill,  a class, a prescription re-fill, or any other number of reasons, I know they will encounter someone who cares. I like to think they will leave this place with a stronger sense of peace; that whatever strategy for healing is necessary, their whole story (body, mind and spirit) will be taken into account; that their spirit will be lifted up as a result of their time with us.

Knowing that I work in a place that does that kind of work brings me great joy, along with a healthy dose of humility and privilege. Thank you, all of you, for all you do to make it possible to carry on this crucial mission.

It’s been a great year.

I can’t wait for an even better 2018.



More blog posts from Jim Hayes here:


If you are still making end of year philanthropy decisions, please consider helping children, teens and adults who need access to mental health counseling and education.DonateNow

Meet board member Shirley Poertner

Shirley Poertner, a member of the Center’s Board of Directors

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is grateful for our volunteer, community-based board of directors. They give generously of their time, talents and treasures to advance the mission of understanding, hope and healing. Why? One board member, Shirley Poertner, agreed to share about herself and her motivations. Thank you, Shirley!


What are your hobbies?  travel, mystery novels, gardening, walking with my dog, Cooper

What is your professional background? I worked in banking for ten years before taking corporate positions at Meredith Corporation and DuPont Pioneer. I formed a management consulting firm in 1994 and for twenty years, offered leadership development, executive coaching , and strategic planning services. The last ten years of my professional career, I was an Associate of VitalSmarts LLC in Provo, UT and marketed, sold and delivered workshops based on the New York Times bestselling book, Crucial Conversations.

Tell us about your educational background: I have a teaching degree from NE MO State University (…now Truman U) and a Master’s in adult education from Drake University.

How did you get involved with the Center’s Board of Directors? I had used the Center’s services over the last fifteen years, donated annually, and I knew a number of the Center’s staff and board members. I had always thought the Center would be a wonderful place to contribute by sharing some of my professional skills. When my name was mentioned as a potential board member and I was contacted, I immediately said, “Yes!”

What do you find most inspiring about the Center’s mission? The most inspiring aspect of the Center for me is its spiritually integrated counseling and its focus on holistic healing and self-discovery. The Center’s services that I tapped into in the early 2000’s literally changed my life, enriching my perspective on who I am and what I have to offer the world.

What would you like others to know about the Center? I’d like others to know what a unique place the Center is, its diversity of services, its inclusiveness and accessibility. We don’t turn anyone away who is in need of healing, offering a sliding fee schedule and assistance funds.


If you are still making end of year philanthropy decisions, please consider helping children, teens and adults who need access to mental health counseling and education. DonateNow

In gratitude to Betty Durden

Betty Durden: Leaving a legacy for the Center’s future

Betty Durden (photo courtesy of her family)

(October 2017) – Betty Durden lived large and gave generously. A woman of extensive accomplishment, she led with courage even when personal risk was high and rewards limited.

Of the many organizations Betty supported, she gave to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center throughout her lifetime including serving as a member of the Center’s Foundation Board and advising on human resource best practices. At the time of her death she left a large legacy gift to the Center – a bequest that will help ensure access to counseling services for others, for years to come.

On October 12, 2017, the family of Betty Durden hosted a reception at the Center to honor Betty, and to present a large bequest check from Betty’s estate to fulfill her philanthropic wishes. Center staff were grateful for the invitation to join in the celebration of Betty’s life, and to witness the gift presentation following comments offered by Betty’s daughter, Barbara Durden Davis (see transcript below).

We are forever grateful for Betty Durden’s vision, support and remarkable legacy — supporting our shared mission of understanding, hope and healing far into the future.

The full transcript of Barbara Durden Davis’ presentation

The family of Betty Durden, along with the Center’s executive director Jim Hayes, board vice chair Sally Wood, and Center founders Ellery Duke and Eileen Burtle.

Good Afternoon –

My name is Barbara Durden Davis and I am the daughter of Betty J. Durden.  My oldest brother, Rick Durden is here as is my other brother, David.  Along with David is his wife Loretta and with me are my husband Mark Davis, my daughters Erin and Erika Romar and my granddaughter Kiylah Reed. My first cousin, my mother’s nephew Ron Morden is also here (see family photo above). My brother Rick’s wife, Karen, was going to come but unfortunately was unable to do so at the last minute.

Our Mother, Betty, died on February 20th of this year and my brothers and I are carrying out the wishes she specifically delineated in her will.  But before we make the check presentation, I’d like to tell you a bit about her.

She received her BA in English from Drake in 1948 after having a couple of hiccups in her education due to time spent at the FBI in Washington D.C. in the steno pool and serving as a Yeoman in the WAVES.

She received an MSE in Guidance and Counseling in 1971 and then an Ed.D in 1990 when she was 67 years old.  Both of these were from Drake University.

While she was in a volunteer position at the Des Moines YWCA, she was approached during the summer of 1969 to join Drake University as Director of Women Programs where she was to set up a program of continuing education for women.  She accepted and was appointed Assistant to the Dean of Continuing Education.  She stayed with Drake through 1988 retiring as Director of Human Resources and Special Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs.

In 1984 she had been honored as a YWCA Woman of the Achievement.

In her “spare” time, she organized and chaired Governor Robert D. Ray’s Commission on the Status of Women, was the State Chair of ERA of Iowa, sat on boards of Interstate Association of Commissions of Status of Women, Children and Families of Iowa, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.

In talking with your Director Emeritus, Ellery Duke, I found out how our Mother began her relationship with Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.  Although he didn’t remember who had recommended for her to come on the Board, it was her knowledge of personnel issues which made her a valuable asset to Ellery and the Center.  She and the Personnel Committee of the Board reviewed the employment handbook and helped make sure the Center was complying with employment rules and regulations.  Ellery said he relied on her for her expertise in the area of Human Resources.

When her term as a regular board member was coming to an end, she wanted to become a Foundation Board member and did so.  Which she then became the President of.  A former employee here recalls our Mother’s tremendous organizational skills and the follow-up she provided.  She always had an agenda ready for the meeting and provided typed minutes to the Board members thereafter.  Although no longer the President, Mother was an active member of the Foundation Board during the time of the Capital Campaign which resulted in the facility we are in now.   And, fortunately, she was able to live the benefits of this new facility through partaking in the therapy services herself and personally knowing that others were receiving the help they needed.

A little insight into her private life: She had her hair done weekly. She would not go anywhere without her lipstick on.  She had a passion for fine jewelry and Persian rugs.  When most people walk into a room they notice the walls, the furniture and maybe the lighting.  Our mother walked in with her head down, inspecting what covering was on the floors.  She collected teacups and saucers.  She loved eggs made out of all kinds of substances; stone, malachite, porcelain, glass…  She felt that eggs were a representation of life’s renewal.  She studied and educated herself on various religions. Oh, and she was a published author at age 90.  She wrote “Sanity after Seventy, a humorous and poignant look at life in the very mature years….by a woman who is living them.”

At times she was quite haughty and a snob.  She was almost the spitting image of Queen Elizabeth II and in our family, she WAS the Queen. But she was a very loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was an excellent role model for women and she had an adage for us: if you join a group and don’t like how it is run, either quit or take it over!

Our Mother was a huge believer in education and in helping others.  She had a deep sense of faith.  Ellery Duke told me that Mother was especially pleased with Des Moines Pastoral Counseling because of your ability to integrate spirituality and human need.  This bequest to Des Moines Pastoral Counseling was not a last minute decision nor was it made lightly.  I was her attorney for many years and every time we dealt with her estate planning, she made sure that she would be providing for this Center.  And as such, our Mother presents to you a check.


For more information about the benefits of estate giving, please visit

Media Release

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center launches a strategic planning process with support from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

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(Des Moines, Iowa) August 1, 2017 – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center received a $2,100 Capacity Building Grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines to help launch a strategic planning process to clarify immediate priorities, sharpen organizational vision, and focus the framework for growth. The process will be led by a volunteer group comprised of board and staff, including the new executive director, Jim Hayes, D.Min., M.Div.

“This planning process comes at a crucial time because of the great uncertainty and unprecedented change in the health care landscape in central Iowa,” said Hayes. “We are grateful for this tremendous support from the Community Foundation. I am convinced that our collaboration will make a positive difference for many individuals, far into the future.”

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

As a nonprofit provider of mental health counseling and education, the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center has cultivated a broad base of support and is poised to effect greater community impact.

“With a multidisciplinary staff of 27 highly trained mental health clinicians, we know there are many assets to bring to the table,” Hayes continued. “We want to move forward in a way that is most effective and efficient.”

The provision of mental health counseling and educational services is imperiled by the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act and looming cuts to Medicaid and traditional insurance benefits. Meanwhile, the need for improved access to coordinated behavioral health services has never been greater. The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is poised

“The Community Foundation understands strategic planning is critical for the sustainable success of our community’s nonprofit organizations. We are proud to support the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center as they continue to provide mental health services to those in need,” shares the Community Foundation’s Chief Community Impact Officer, Angie Dethlefs-Trettin.

Through this strategic planning initiative, the Center seeks to ensure its future relevancy in meeting the needs of our community as a leader in mental health counseling and education including innovative, holistic approaches.


The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines improves quality of life for all by promoting charitable giving, connecting donors with causes they care about and providing leadership on important community issues…we’re simply better together. The Community Foundation manages assets in excess of $477 million, administers over 1,730 charitable funds and distributed over $29 million in grants in 2016.

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization serving more than 3,700 individuals annually including 645 children and adolescents through counseling and education. The Center is not affiliated with a particular religious group and respects the values of all. Although best known for its 45 years of providing professional mental health therapy, the Center is a multi-faceted organization providing a range of services to promote education and understanding:

  • Counseling, including specialized services for children and adolescents
  • Psychiatry (medication management)
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Biofeedback therapy and other holistic approaches
  • Training for clinical professionals
  • Leadership and spiritual life programming
  • Career Coaching
  • Conflict transformation and strategic planning services for congregations, nonprofits and businesses


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