An Incubator for Health-Related Nonprofits

Feb 21, 2017

Office space at the former AIB campus south of downtown Des Moines is being put to use as a hub for health-related nonprofits. It’s the first project to come since the University of Iowa took ownership of the 20-acre property last summer.

The site of a business center for healthcare nonprofits at the former AIB south of downtown Des Moines.
Credit Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

The charitable healthcare foundation Telligen Community Initiative of West Des Moines is renting from the university 5,000 square feet to house the Synergy Center. It will support as many as ten local nonprofits whose missions focus on health issues. The executive director of Telligen, Matt McGarvey, says there are similar support centers for nonprofits, but in this one they can stay as long as they want.

“We’re not setting a 100-day time limit or something along those lines," he says. "And it’s not for-profit driven.”

McGarvey says five nonprofits have committed to the project, with four already moved in. He says as he recruits future tenants he’s looking to expand the traditional meaning of healthcare.

“Some that might focus on some other facets of health like food insecurity or hunger, or homelessness and affordable housing,” McGarvey says.

The nonprofits signed on to the Synergy Center so far are Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, the Iowa Public Health Association, Eat Greater Des Moines, Count the Kicks/Healthy Birth Day and Reach Out and Read.