Volunteer Iowa recently announce the winners of the third-annual Give Back Iowa Challenge, a campaign in which businesses encourage their employees to volunteer and log their hours as part of an eight-week challenge, April 1-May 31, across the state of Iowa.

From a business perspective, employer supported volunteering leads to improved employee engagement, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction and retention; all of which can impact the business’ bottom line. From an engagement perspective, places of employment are perfect environments to encourage and support volunteering efforts that contribute toward meeting significant community challenges.

The 2017 Give Back Iowa Challenge had 56 participating organizations — representing more than 56,450 employees in Iowa — who logged over 57,000 volunteer hours. According to the current Iowa volunteer rate per hour from the Independent Sector, the value of these hours exceeds $1.3 million. Winners were selected in three categories based on employer size and the highest average number of volunteer hours per employee. The 2017 winners include:

• Small: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa, Waterloo

Honorable Mention: Worldly Goods, Ames

• Medium: First Citizens Bank, Mason City

Honorable Mention: West Music Company, Coralville

• Large: Bankers Trust, Des Moines

Honorable Mention: Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, Riverside

Volunteer Iowa would also like to recognize the additional employers that rounded out the overall Top Ten in the Challenge with the highest average number of volunteer hours per employee:

• Iowa Healthcare Collaborative

• Lessing-Flynn Advertising

• Volunteer Center of Story County

• Make-A-Wish Iowa

• Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa

• Green Valley Pest Control & Lawn Care

• Story County Conservation

“The winners of the Give Back Iowa Challenge demonstrate the impact employers have on improving our communities through service,” said Adam Lounsbury, Volunteer Iowa executive director. “Employee volunteering is win-win for both business and the community, and with the support of employers, we can increase volunteerism across Iowa.”