Des Moines, IA 3/31/21 — The Nelson Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the Nelson family, who privately own and operate Kemin Industries, announced a $50,000 donation to Anawim Housing to support our mission through the Sister Stella Neil Rental Relief Fund. The Fund supports Anawim Housing tenants living in affordable housing and is used to provide rental assistance in times of an emergency or for those in need of supportive services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased financial stress for families who are already struggling to make ends meet. While Iowa renters originally had access to funds and resources to maintain housing stability, those funds dwindled after The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ban on evictions expired on December 31, 2020. The Nelson Foundation’s gift of $50,000 for the Sister Stella Rental Relief Fund provides the flexibility needed to ensure Anawim Housing tenants with the greatest need, or who are facing an emergency, are given the best opportunity to access housing and remain housed.
“Anawim Housing is pleased to partner with The Nelson Foundation in supporting housing stability for our valued tenants. The past year has highlighted how important having a safe place to call home is and the impact housing has on our mental and physical health,” said Cynthia Latcham, Executive Director of Anawim Housing. “Offering rent relief to our tenants allows us to help mitigate some of the stress families are facing so they can focus their attention elsewhere.”
Mary and R.W. Nelson, co-founders of Kemin Industries and The Nelson Foundation, both served on and chaired the Anawim Housing board for 18 years (1992 – 2010) alongside Anawim Housing founder, Sister Stella Neil, supporting our mission of developing stable homes and strengthening communities. The Nelson Foundation’s generous gift to the Sister Stella Neil Rental Relief Fund aligns with The Nelson Foundation’s longstanding philanthropic legacy of supporting housing and homelessness initiatives in our community.
“After the pandemic exposed inequities and created challenges for many, the Foundation knew it could play a role to assist with basic needs like housing during an incredibly difficult time. We’re grateful that organizations like Anawim Housing are dedicated to ensuring safe and secure housing within our community,” states Mary Katherine Nelson, a third-generation family member and current Chair of The Nelson Foundation. “At the core of both The Nelson Foundation and Kemin Industries, is the philosophy of servant leadership and a deeply held belief that one must do what they can to positively impact the quality of life around the world.”
Anawim Housing develops stable homes and strengthens communities. From its start as a vision of Sister Stella Neill in 1987, Anawim Housing has become a local leader in affordable housing – working tirelessly to end homelessness and ensure the most vulnerable in our community have a safe place to call home.
Anawim Housing is the largest provider of Permanent Supportive Housing in the state of Iowa – serving over 380 individuals who have a history of homelessness and live with mental illness, a substance abuse disorder, a physical disability, a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, or are fleeing domestic violence. At Anawim, we believe housing is a human right. Through stable housing, life-saving supportive services, and the opportunity to reconnect with the community, we are breaking the cycle of homelessness and giving households the stability they need to meet their full potential.
Anawim Housing is also a well-established leader in affordable housing development. While Des Moines and Central Iowa are growing, there is not enough affordable housing units to keep up with the demand – especially for low-wage earners. Many households are rent-burdened, paying over 30% of their income toward rent and utilities. Anawim owns 536 affordable housing units serving over 1,200 individuals. All Anawim Housing properties are managed by Allterra Property Solutions, Anawim Housing’s third-party management company. All revenue from Allterra Property Solutions goes back into Anawim Housing to directly support the programs and services Anawim provides. Allterra’s portfolio consists of townhomes, single-family homes, duplexes and multi-family housing.
Driven by servant leadership and a motivation to help their community, R.W. and Mary Nelson, the founders of Kemin Industries, established The Nelson Foundation in 1983 to support the communities in which Kemin’s employees live and work. The Foundation aims to provide support for issues impacting children under 18, housing and homelessness initiatives, food security challenges and the promotion of education at all levels.
The Nelson Foundation is facilitated by the Nelson Family Council, which is comprised of Nelson family members, including the second and third generation. Both R.W. and Mary, whom are in their early-90s, remain actively engaged in the Kemin business and The Nelson Foundation. The entire Nelson family is dedicated to continuing R.W. and Mary’s philanthropic legacy within Iowa and around the world.
Kate Bergeron, Marketing and Communications Manager, Anawim Housing
Lauren M.G. Burt, Head of Worldwide Communications, Kemin Industries