ANKENY, Iowa — March is Women’s History Month and we’re highlighting Remarkable Women in our community.
Anne Bacon leads a local organization that provides to people who are without. How she got involved in this line of work began with a personal experience.
“When I was 23 years old, I was a single mom in California and I needed help,” Anne said.
When she went looking for it, she didn’t get the positive experience she hoped for.
“And when I met with this person, we sat down to go over what my hopes and dreams were and he asked and I said ‘I want to be an attorney,’ and he started laughing,” Anne recalls.
It was that moment when Anne wanted to see a change in a system set up to help people who are without.
“And so since that time, I have really committed my life to making sure that the assistance programs out there that I’m connected with treat people with dignity and respect and kindness,” Anne said.
Anne is now the CEO of IMPACT Community Action Partnership, an organization that serves five central Iowa counties by removing barriers for families in poverty and meeting their essential needs.
IMPACT focuses on providing food, housing, and utilities through pantries and assistance programs. While the pandemic has created some challenges, last year the organization served nearly 20,000 families.
“When you care about it and I care about it and we have 78 staff who really care about it, it does make it hard sometimes,” Anne said, “but you know, the magic isn’t doing it today. It’s getting up and doing it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day.”
Anne’s colleagues know the organization wouldn’t have the same impact without her leadership.
“I know if Anne was standing right next to me right now she would say ‘It’s not about me. It’s about the organization. It’s about serving the community,’” Terri Mork Speirs, who nominated Anne, said. “And yes it is, but we couldn’t do it without her.”
Anne’s reach extends far beyond the organization she leads. She looks deeper into the systemic issue of poverty and how she can make things more helpful and fair.
“When I see laws change or I see governments adapting or I see other social services becoming kinder and gentler, I hope that has something to do with me but it doesn’t matter,” Anne said. “In this work, it’s not about me. It’s about the success that we have. It’s about changing the world to be a better reflection of what most of us want it to be.”
She credits what she’s done to people who have come before her, her mother who’s a retired social worker and juvenile justice warrior. She’s paving the path for the next generation, three daughters who are making a difference in their own ways.
“I think all that anyone ever hopes for is a remarkable life, and I think that’s within the reach of everyone,” Anne said. “And it’s not me that’s remarkable. It’s the things that I’ve been able to do because of the people who surround me.”
Anne’s leadership through IMPACT is also making a difference for people affected by the severe weather and tornadoes earlier this month. Besides food, housing, and utilities, IMPACT also provides disaster assistance.