Women United

Mother and child

Join Women United

To grow our region, we have to focus on our young people. Women United is a group of caring women who are dedicated to make the Quad Cities the best place for kids to grow up.

Since 2011, nearly 200 Women United investors have raised and invested nearly $5.5 million in research-based strategies to support quality child care and early learning experiences for our youngest Quad Citizens. They have invested in quality child care opportunities for families, and education and retention of child care providers in the Quad Cities.



Why Get Involved?

  • 1 in 5 kids in the Quad Cities start kindergarten without the skills needed to succeed. 
  • A child who is not ready for kindergarten is twice as likely not to be reading at grade-level by third grade.
  • Third grade is a pivotal point; if you fall behind, chances are you may stay there the rest of your life.
  • Students unable to read at grade level by the end of third grade are 4X more likely to drop out of high school.
  • Opportunity and achievement gaps are particularly pronounced for low-income and minority students.

Our Impact

  • Raised $2.5 million toward the building of the new Scott County Family YMCA Learning Center in downtown Davenport.
  • Invested $275,000 to improve local child care and education facilities and support training and professional development for local providers.
  • More than 1,200 families and 2,000 children have graduated from Born Learning Academies in the Quad Cities since they began in 2011, hosted by 19 QC organizations.
  • 1,000 families receive a minimum of 3 text messages a week with activities and tips for turning everyday moments into teaching moments.
  • 90,000 Born Learning calendars have been distributed since 2015, with 365 days of activities for parents to do with their children.

Read more about Women United programs and membership benefits.


How To Get Involved

Contribute to Women United and support top-notch early learning programs and activities. Your donations ensure that children have safe, enriching learning environments and receive services that improve their health, well-being and development.

Donate Now

Lend your voice to our outreach and education efforts and engage elected leaders around issues that improve children’s health and development, including affordable, quality child care for families of all income levels.

Participate in hands-on activities, including reading with kids in the critical year before kindergarten, assisting families at Born Learning Academies, building literacy kits to improve students’ reading skills, donating books and more.

Current opportunity

Virtual Book Drives – Volunteers collect books via an Amazon Wish list at unitedwayqc.org/bookdrive to give to kids in need in the Quad Cities. Donate a book or two and have them shipped directly to United Way. It’s as easy at that! Email info@unitedwayqc.org for more information or call 563.355.4310.

Our Initiatives

Born Learning Academies consist of a series of six free virtual parent workshops. The academies are an initiative of our Women United donor network and are designed to help parents prepare their children for success.

Learn More

Kindergarten Skills Inventory

According to local kindergarten teachers, 1 in 5 Quad Cities children were not ready to learn on their first day of school.

10 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten

A group of Quad Cities kindergarten teachers put together this list. Is your child ready for kindergarten?

1. Does your child have patience?

  • Play freeze tag.
  • Give a small treat to the child who can sit still the longest.
  • Teach your child how to walk up to pets.

2. Does your child share with others?

  • Play board or card games.
  • Get two different ice cream cones, and then ask to trade a bite for a bite.
  • Color in a picture together using only two or three crayons.

3. Can your child talk about thoughts and feelings?

  • When your child is upset, sit in a chair snuggling with him or her. Ask how he or she feels and listen to the answer.

  • When watching TV together, ask questions likes: Why do you think the little girl is crying?

  • At bedtime, have your child list three things that happened that day the made him or her happy.

4. Can your child get dressed, put on a coat, and use a bathroom, without help?

  • Play dress-up together.
  • Pull a zipper off an old pair of pants and have the children practice with it.
  • Let your child get dressed and undressed by him or herself - as much as he or she can do without help.

5. Does your child do well in new situations?

  • Try new places such as: parks and playgrounds, farmers' markets, window shopping at the mall, and pet stores.

6. Does your child play in groups?

  • Have a three-legged race.
  • Get two children to hold a towel between them and then get them to bounce a ball in the middle.
  • Play pretend with your child. Today, I am a lion. What are you?

7. Can your child hold a pencil and use scissors?

  • Get a pair of child's safety scissors.
  • If they have trouble cutting paper at first, give them clay or play dough to cut.
  • Color a picture together.
  • Play Tic-Tac-Toe.

8. Can your child figure out ways to solve problems?

  • Play I Spy or Hot & Cold.
  • Give your child an empty cereal box and ask him or her to make it flat.
  • Twist two pipe cleaners together in a knot and work with your child to untangle them.

9. Does your child explore the world and ask questions?

  • Ask questions yourself. What color and shape is that sign? Why do cars have wheels?
  • Halfway through a book, ask your child what he or she thinks is going to happen next.
  • When your child asks a question you don't know the answer to, look up the answer together.

10. Does your child like to listen to stories?

  • Read to your child, every day, starting from birth.


1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Quad Cities libraries are challenging parents to read 1,000 books to their children, and Women United is helping to spread the word. Here’s how it works: Read 1,000 books to your newborn, infant and/or toddler before kindergarten. When you read just 1 book a night, you will have read 365 books in a year and can read 1,095 books in just three years.

The result? Your child will enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school — greatly increasing their chances of graduating high school ready for college or career. 

This self-paced program allows you to decide how often and how long you read, and lets you and your child celebrate milestones along the way as you make progress towards 1,000 books! Learn more:

Women United invites you to join a group of caring women dedicated to improving the lives of our youngest Quad Citizens.

The Founding Members of Women United (in bold) are a group of dynamic women who were the trailblazers behind this movement to improve the lives and circumstances of children in the Quad Cities.

This entire list of women, from all over our region, banded together around a shared belief that all children deserve quality child care and early learning opportunities. They dedicated themselves to raising revenue, awareness and public support for the following ambitious first projects: construction of a state-of-the-art YMCA Early Learning Center in downtown Davenport and capacity building for early learning centers to increase quality. This investment also included teacher training and center improvements. We will forever be grateful to these visionaries for their leadership!

The following Women United investors have made the commitment of $2,500 or more to this initiative.


Naurin Ahmad, M.D.
Samia Ahmad
Sam & Marsha Allen
Debbie Anselm
Dr. Paula M. Arnell
Bev Askeland
Nancy A. Ballenger
Tara Barney
Rosie Barton

Rita Bawden
Kim Beardsley
Stefanie Beason
Kim Benson
Ellie Betzle
Dr. Susan Bird
Susan Blaskovich

Emily Blaylock
Phyllis Bleymeyer
Linda V. Bowers
Michelle Breneman

Sarah Budan
Denise Bulat
Debi Butler
Cindy Carlson
Molly Carroll
Mary Ellen Chamberlin

Meghan Cooley
Adrian Crawford
Amy Crist
Lynne Cropper

Peggy Cullen
Mike & Myra Daniel
Marci R. Dinneweth
Mara Downing
Marilyn Dumolien
Lynne Dvorak
Carol Earnhardt
Trish Eikenberry

Kristin Esche
Caroline Everitt
Marie Feehan
Reggie Goldstein
Jayne Field
Kimberly Findlay-Brackey

Darby Finnegan
Molly Foley
Kim Fox
Karrie Fuhr
Astrid Garcia
Edna Denise Garrett
Rene Gellerman
Laura Genis
Peggy Germain

Hannah Gorsline
Monique Gorsline
Vicki Graves
Rebecca Guinn
Leslee Hager
Jenny Hamilton
Mary Haney
Diane Harris
Michelle Horaney

Valerie J. Horvat
Marc & Gma Howze
Rosemary Huisingh

Heidi Huiskamp Collins
Jen Hunt
Anita Horne Jenkins
Sarah Johnson

Marika Jones
Mary K.W. Jones
Mary Junck
Terri Kabat
Subha Kalathur
Terre Klipsch
Judy Kreiter

Nataliya Kukhar
Dr. Joan Kuraitis
Joan Lescinski, C.S.J., PhD
Carol Lewis
Kathleen Logan
Dr. Cynthia Long
Denise Mack
Cheri May

Amy McClure Swearingen
Lisa J. McCraw
Delia Moon Meier
Marcy Mendenhall
Kathi Morency

Linda Neuman
Linda Newborn
Amy Nimmer
Carrie O'Neill
Margaret Ortiz

Dr. Rafat F. Padaria
Susan M. Parker
Heidi Parkhurst
Priscilla Parkhurst
Holly Parsons
Jenny Parvin
Melissa Pepper
Teresa Perkins
Jennifer L. Preston
Raelene Pullen
Diane Puthoff
Susan Quail

Luann Rickert
Sherry Ristau
Sierra Roberts
Charlene Ruccolo
Caroline Ruhl
Caitlin Russell

Debbie Schwiebert
Nancy J. Seidler
Debra Sergesketter
Emily Shenk-DeMay

Kay Sigardson-Poor
Rebecca Signer
Armeet Singh
Amanda Slavens
Pamela Snyder
Megan Stopulos
Shawn Stuenkel
Lori Syverud
Linda Tank
Terri Tank

Ashley Tennant
Deann R. Thoms
Cynthia Tidwell
Elizabeth Tinsman
Maggie Tinsman

Liz Treiber
Mike & Carrie Trenkamp
Dottie Tubbs

Leanne Tyler
Fonda Van Nattan
Melissa von Maur
Sue von Maur

Janice Vrablec
Laurel Walker
Jean Wardlow
Ranae Warren
Faye Waterman
Maria Waterman
Jill Lain Weaver

Kathy Weigle
Barbara Westerdale
Kim Whalen
Cathie S. Whiteside
Dana Wilkinson
Tammy Williams

Dawna Wisdom
Mellissa Wood
Michelle Y. Yates, M.D.
Jill Young
Marie Z. Ziegler

4 Anonymous, 3 Deceased

14 Anonymous


Email Michele Darland at mdarland@unitedwayqc.org or call 563.344.0320.