Founded in 1952, DMARC leads interfaith dialogue and cooperation, responds to meet basic human needs and is at the forefront of community action and advocacy in Greater Des Moines for nearly six decades.

From its formative years as a Protestant-based organization, DMARC grew to include over 130 member congregations of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian faiths representing nearly 70,000 congregants. DMARC also welcomes and engages with followers of Baha’i, Buddhist and Native American faith traditions.

Presently, more than 34,000 people annually are served through the DMARC Food Pantry Network, Compassion in Action, Childcare Assistance, and Interfaith Engagement programs.

The work of DMARC continues through the generosity of DMARC members and other faith congregations, as well as countless individuals, businesses, civic organizations and groups from public, private and non-profit sectors.

  • January 1, 2013

    Two Awards

    Recognized by the United Way of Central Iowa for the 2012 LIVE UNITED Advocacy Award and by the Iowa Medical Society for the 2013 Washington Freeman Peck Award.
  • January 1, 2011

    Aurora Award

    Recognized by The Des Moines Register as the 2010 Aurora Award recipient.
  • January 1, 2010

    By-Laws Restated

    Restated by-laws to bring organization into alignment with Iowa Principles and Practices of Charitable Non-Profit Excellence. Also, established as the largest networked food pantry system in Iowa.
  • January 1, 2009

    Move the Food

    Launches the Move the Food initiative to engage the whole community in building a systematic community model to end hunger and improve health in Polk County. Changed the content of Food Pantry Network boxes to healthy food/fresh fruits and vegetables. Food Pantry Network client base grew by 60% in response to economic recession.
  • January 1, 2006

    First Muslim Congregation

    Receives into membership the first Muslim congregation, Muslim Community Organization.
  • January 1, 2001

    Event Organizing

    Organized community-wide events to respond to anti-Semitism and terrorism.
  • January 1, 1990

    Red Barrel Program

    Established the Red Barrel program in most Des Moines area food stores.
  • January 1, 1988

    Foundation Established

    Established the Des Moines Area Religious Council Foundation.
  • January 1, 1981


    Established a widowed persons program, LADOS (Life After Death of Spouse).
  • January 1, 1979

    First Jewish Congregation

    Receives into membership the first Jewish congregation, Tifereth Israel Synagogue.
  • February 7, 1978

    Hospice of Central Iowa

    Co-sponsored with the Information and Referral Services of the United Way of Central Iowa, discussions on forming a hospice organization. Led to HCI Care Services (formerly Hospice of Central Iowa).
  • January 1, 1978

    Compassion in Action

    Established Compassion in Action as a cooperative effort with the Information and Referral Center of the United Way to “more effectively meet the needs of transients and other strangers coming to churches with stories of need.” Also, started the Childcare Assistance program.
  • May 10, 1976

    Food Pantry Network

    Emergency Food Pantry program established as Food Pantry Network.

  • August 29, 1972

    Des Moines Area Religious Council

    Organization becomes Des Moines Area Religious Council, welcoming non-Christian congregations.

  • June 1, 1968

    Homes of Oakridge

    Sponsored the Homes of Oakridge Housing project.

  • January 1, 1952

    The Des Moines Area Council of Churches Founded

    Chartered as the Des Moines Area Council of Churches, out of the world-wide movement of faith communities in the wake of WWI & WWII.

    • Provide an interdenominational agency for cooperation
    • Study the religious needs of the community
    • Promote the spiritual, moral, social and civic welfare of the community