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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

CultureALL, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Education

Mission: The mission of CultureALL is to lead communities to value our culturally rich diversity by creating authentic experiences that engage Iowans in cultural discovery within schools, around the community, and in collaboration with businesses. CultureALL is the only organization in the nation that recruits and trains local residents who were born in other countries (or who have lived and worked extensively with other cultures) to become CultureALL Ambassadors. Their interactive presentations provide the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures that engage participants with all their senses, allowing them to discover how rich and vibrant their lives can be when they fully explore culture.

Results: CultureALL was formed in 2005 with a mission to create discovery-filled experiences that strengthen cultural understanding and appreciation in our daily lives and promote equity and inclusion. Understanding and embracing the diverse cultures of people now making their homes in Iowa is essential in preparing our citizens—especially our youth—to live and work in a global community. CultureALL serves people of all ages – from preschoolers to seniors – and provides programming to schools, businesses, senior living communities, and community organizations throughout Central Iowa. Over the past 13 years, CultureALL has engaged more than 300,000 students and adults in cultural learning. Through our programs: • Young people in our community gain a greater awareness and a better understanding of global cultures and feel more comfortable interacting with people from different backgrounds. • Teachers develop new strategies for including global education in their curriculum and gain a better understanding of how to handle interactions with immigrant students and families. • Seniors can engage in life-long learning and gain a better understanding of Iowa’s changing cultural landscape. • Immigrants feel more at home in the community as they share their stories and traditions as Cultural Ambassadors with CultureALL. • Companies can help their employees learn how to develop grace and expertise in working with people from other cultures, and show their customers, colleagues, and investors that Iowa is a viable and desirable place to live and work.

Target demographics: community members of all ages

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 30,000 students, teachers and community members

Geographic areas served: Central Iowa

Programs: unique, interactive learning experiences that help participants to understand and value global cultures and create a more inclusive community.

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What Open Book does is give you the opportunity to listen, and that's a really beautiful thing. I think we tend to take for granted the power of simply listening, of letting someone share what they have to say the way they want to say it. There are many ways to experience a story, whether it's through reading or through watching or even through telling, but listening to someone tell their story in their own words is a completely unique way to engage in storytelling, a way of absorbing a story that no other story experience can offer. Open Book recognizes this fact, this power in listening, and I think it's something we can all benefit from.

Tijana K.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Cultureall is unlike anything else we have in Iowa and everything we need. It educates our children on different cultures and helps create an inclusive community. I am so thankful for Cultureall and the impact it has had and continues to have in our community.

Fabiola C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's always wonderful to learn about other cultures , CultureAll brings is the opportunity to connect with people from other countries and backgrounds . We are very happy to be able to participate with them .

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CultureALL came to my children's school and led an incredible event facilitating awareness and understanding of different cultures. My boys couldn't wait to tell us all about what they learned that day. The volunteers brought wonderful positive energy. We are lucky to have such a wonderful organization in our community!

mchoquette

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been active supporters of CultureALL for several years and have only good things to say about the organization. From observing the benefits they bring into the classroom to hosting a fundraising event at our house, each CultureALL experience has been unique and memorable. Specifically, the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner event we hosted, was really interactive and fun and I felt completely supported by the staff through the planning phases and during the actual evening. They made the entire process manageable from sending invites to setting up a unique way to entertain and raise funds. We had a great interactive evening with friends while supporting a cause everyone was really excited about. I would definitely encourage others to find out more about this great organization and to get involved.

Donor

Rating: 5

I had the awesome pleasure of serving on the board for CultureALL. Based on my experience with their leadership team and behind the scenes peak at their approach and operations, I will be a life-supporter of the organization. CultureALL is a one-of-a-kind organization whose unique approach to building bridges across communities inspire cross-cultural understanding and engagement. They have a heart and mind for all people - and in this day and age - that is priceless. I believe their strategy is key to unlocking greater potential in Iowa and serves as a model that can be replicated to benefit other parts of the world.

Lea P.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attended the Taste of Peru event hosted by CultureAll at Panka. The Panka owner shared her experiences moving to Iowa and shared how she is honoring her heritage while establishing roots locally. Musical entertainment was provided along with a great meal. The programming put together by CultureALL was wonderful and I look forward to future events!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CultureAll infuses the community with thoughtful education that inspires connection with and understanding of the cultures and perspectives that are represented locally. Whether it's fund and informative pubic events, or facilitation of activities within schools and partnering nonprofits - they are always top notch. They have come to work with participants of the YWRC, where I work, in the past - and the groups always loved their visits.

Sarah Trone G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CultureAll is a great partner, working with other non-profits, schools, businesses to inspire curiosity about our neighbor's culture. They create fun, engaging opportunities!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with CultureAll, Inc for nearly 20 years. They have always had one goal in mind - creation of a world of inclusion, fairness, equality and respect for all. They embody the ideals that are needed to stop violence and division in a world too often dominated by hate. Their Ambassadors of Culture are as diverse a group of persons as you will find anywhere and share the organizational goals with graceful tenacity. They invite all to embrace the value of others with an expertise that comes from actually believing in the mission rather than "hopping on a bandwagon". They are who they say they are - Culture for All - CultureAll.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Their Open Book storyteller program is wonderful. It allows an intimate glimpse into the lives of people who on the surface seem so different but then we listen to their stories and find that we have a lot in common. More such programs should exist.
They also do a fantastic job with GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. It not only supports locally owned ethnic restaurants, it also educates the community about the culture surrounding the food.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CultureAll ambassadors bring stories and messages of the world culture as well as laughter to many many schools in Iowa. The job they do is so meaningful!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Bringing stories to life is one of the best ways to attract attention, touch someone's heart and make a lasting impression. CultureALL does exactly that with their work in the Des Moines community. The programs they offer to students, the workforce and the general public offer us all an opportunity to know better, and then to do better.

One program near to my heart is a partnership with Drake University and the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority; first year students were charged with documenting their experience on the public transit system. For many, this was their first public transportation experience and there were emotions ranging from fear to freedom by the students. Throughout their semester, as they rode the bus and documented their journey with pictures and essays, they learned about what a vibrant community the Des Moines Region is, and how important public transportation is, and how normal and even fun it can be to utilize.

This organization brings culture to life for anyone interested in looking beyond their personal experiences.

Board Member

Rating: 5

CultureAll provides knowledge and learning opportunities that encompass many different languages, religions, cuisine with their "Guess Who is Coming To Dinner" series. Their goal is to ensure that all cultures feel welcome, valued and inspired to succeed and believe they succeed by building a great foundation for cultivating and nurturing people by bringing them together.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Through the committed work of CultureAll I've encountered the diverse tapestry of people and their stories living in Iowa. I have been fortunate enough to work as a CultureAll ambassador in our local schools (sharing yoga) and to work with people in the CultureAll Open Book program honing their amazing narratives. CultureAll gives our community heart, spirit, training, and hope.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I attended the CultureALL "Taste of Peru" event on September 16. It was a great event that combined Peruvian food, music and culture. I strongly support the mission of CultureALL and think that it is so important that they are a part of our Iowa community. I'm looking forward to attending future CultureALL events. By providing cultural programming, CultureALL brings people together and gives people an opportunity to learn firsthand about world cultures, therefore promoting appreciation and understanding. I work at a university in Education Abroad and I'm excited to be partnering with CultureALL for a "Taste of Language" event for our students (and members of the community) in November.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I observed a culture day at Fellows Elementary in Ames. I had the pleasure of witnessing the Cultureall ambassadors in action. It's one thing to see kids light up and engage with each other and others from the community. It's another to have ideas and concepts light up in my head about nations, customs and the power of myth.

Keep up the good work, what you do makes a difference!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to visit several countries to learn about a specific business and most importantly, their culture. It was eye opening to learn other cultures by being in their environment with their everyday routines, food, dress, music and beliefs. CultureALL's Ambassadors do just that as they share their cultural experiences in a personal interaction. It is a powerful and understandable way to learn about other wonderful cultures.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a former CultureALL board member and continue to actively support CultureALL because its mission, programs and events are so incredibly relevant -- and needed -- in today's world. CultureALL's unique approach of delivering interactive, authentic experiences in their programming, whether in our classrooms, businesses or events like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, engages participants and assures their experience is impactful. The recent Taste of India event ( a Guess Who's Coming to Dinner event) was an amazing way to learn about Indian Culture and experience food and flavors from a variety of regions of the country. Every CultureALL program brings people together and serves to build understanding and appreciation of cultures different than our own; all with the goal of building community.

Dina R.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CultureALL is an amazing organization who works on promoting the value of diversity in the Midwest. They have a lot of interesting, inspiring events: e.g. interactive cultural workshops, Open Book events, where you can read a person from a different culture as an open book; "Guess Who is Coming for Dinner?" evenings and more. I enjoyed being part of this non-profit and meeting other people from different cultures. It expands the horizon and makes life more interesting. CultureALL reaches out to schools and senior communities. Here is there web-site: https://cultureall.org/?redirect=true.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CultureALL put on a wonderful Cultural Day for our elementary school! The ambassadors were informative and engaging! So many students and teachers have shared that this is their favorite day of the school year because they love learning about cultures new to them and being able to ask questions. Great organization!!!

Sara K.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to volunteer for CulturAll- not only was I able to tell my story and influence people to open their minds, but I learned quite a bit too! Fantastic organization!

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned about CultureAll many years ago, when a friend invited me to attend a Living Culture dinner with a program by a cultural ambassador. I enjoyed it immensely and began attending other events sponsored by the organization. I met some fascinating people with great stories to share about their journey, their country of origin and their culture. I have become friends with a number of them and I value their contributions to the culture of Iowa. I have attended several programs with photo ethnography exhibits - the photography is amazing! CultureAll does a great job in allowing native Iowans to learn about other cultures without leaving the State!

Joyce C.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have loved the"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" series to introduce notable people of diverse backgrounds. CultureAll's food events serve to introduce different cuisines and cuntures in the same fabulous evening of food, fun and friendship.

Client Served

Rating: 5

CultureALL is a fantastic partner for our organization. Both in supporting the cultural competency of our staff and supporting our students in learning about, understanding and appreciating the cultural backgrounds and gifts that their peers bring into the classroom each day. CutlureALL is easy to work with and very effective in their mission.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CultureALL has provided Iowans opportunities and cultural lenses to see the world of different through cultural workshops. And for this reason, Iowa will continue to be a better place where diversity and inclusion strives! Thank you for all that you do.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an immigrant who has been in the usa for over 21years, I wanted to help and be there for other immigrants but was unsure how.
Through CultureAll, I get to have a direct impact by talking to young kids boosting their awareness about my African Culture while at the same time boosting the confidence of immigrant's children by validating who they are and setting an example.
With CultureAll I have been able to talk to thousands of kids in the community. Thank you CultureAll!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CultureALL is a force for good in our community. It exposes us to a diversity of different cultures through food, music, dance and most importantly, friendship. It is impossible to walk away from a CultureALL event without the glow of feeling a common bond with people who are from different parts of the world. We need this group that brings us together and creates understanding between a diversity of people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Open Book is my favorite CultureALL program. I love the idea of bringing people together for the opportunity to talk to someone new and different from you, even if it's just someone else in your community. My friend DJ Savarese featured in one, and while he struggled as an autistic person with meeting so many new people so quickly, he valiantly stayed as long as he could for the sake of sharing his story. Personally I sat with someone from Chicago and we discussed the beauties of Iowa that people from outside the state seem completely oblivious to.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for CultureALL. I work closely with all of the staff members and can say that all of them are working at CutureALL because they they want to be there and know they can make a difference.

I have seen the heartwarming difference the organization makes by bringing the community together to not just hear about how individuals can become more inclusive but experience it through education and hands on activities. This happens in small groups where a person is telling their story to a few people and each person is able to ask questions to better understand their culture (CultureALL calls this program Open Book). It also happens when there are dinners hosted by local restaurants or individuals where the attendees can experience the cuisine, music and traditions of various cultures which always leads to greater insight and acceptance (CultureALL calls this program Guess Who's Coming to Dinner). CultureALL has other programs as well that are making a positive impact on the diversity and inclusion of individuals and groups in our community.

Truly and amazing organization with amazing staff doing amazing things!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Like many people, I am shocked and saddened by the recent escalation of hatred and violence in our country. Attacks on people of color. Attacks on friends in the LGBTQ community. Attacks on immigrants and refugees. On Muslims. On Jews. On Women. I hear from teachers and others working in the schools that children are frightened and confused by all this hate. Or worse, that they, too, are spreading it among their fellow students.

This is horrible, and it needs to end. But what can we do?

Fear comes from a lack of knowledge. Hate comes from misinformation and fear. The best way to stop hate from spreading is through education, and the best place to start is with kids.

For more than ten years CultureALL has been gathering an amazing group of remarkable individuals from more than 60 different world cultures. They are business professionals, artists, teachers, scientists, social workers, entrepreneurs, and homemakers. They take time out from their day jobs and busy lives to go into classrooms and share their culture with Iowa kids. They teach them music, dance, languages, art, sports, and cooking. They help them to better understand the geography, fashions, history, holidays, and traditions of their cultures. They share their stories of how they came to America, their path to citizenship, and how proud they are to live here.

Through these interactions with CultureALL's Ambassadors, students learn that there's nothing to fear. That there is no reason to hate. That despite differences in appearance, or accent, or custom, we are all human beings, deserving of respect.

The thing I love about CultureALL is that their programs don't overtly preach to kids, "You have to be accepting, you shouldn't be prejudiced." The kids just "get" it. It's hard to say you hate someone from another culture when you just spent an hour dancing with them.

The current social climate is pretty ugly, and I can think of no better way to change it for the better than by supporting CultureALL. I create a Facebook Fundraiser, and my husband and I both donated to help jump-start the campaign.

In this small way, I hope I can help ensure that the next generation of Americans will learn to live together in peace and friendship.

Review from #MyGivingStory