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Our Mission, Vision & History

Friends of the Family works tirelessly to help survivors and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We take pride in our advocacy efforts, which began in 1992. Over the years, we have expanded our organization to aid people in 27 Iowa counties thanks to generous donations and strong leadership from our staff and Board of Directors.


Friends of the Family is dedicated to providing meaningful and quality services to persons regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, marital status, socio-economic status, and religion. We celebrate diversity and strive to meet each individual’s culturally specific needs. Our agency embraces these same beliefs in our employment practices, and encourage all interested persons to respond to job postings regardless of any identities held in the classes stated above.

Mission Statement

To provide safe shelter, confidential services, and housing assistance to individuals in crisis due to homelessness, domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Vision Statement

Everyone has a home.


Historical Timeline

  • 1992

    Organized by Church Women United to provide victim services to the people of Bremer and Butler counties.

  • 1994

    First paid staff hired in July; AmeriCorps worker added to staff in October.

  • 1996

    Grew to 3-person full-time paid staff; renting office space in Waverly, IA.  FOF provides crisis line, victim and child advocacy; families are sheltered in local motels.

  • 1998

    Launched effort to raise $330,000 through grants and donations to build the Family Crisis Center, including office space and an emergency shelter.

  • 1999

    Opened first satellite office in Allison, IA, to better serve victims in Butler County. On May 5, 1999 Turning Point Rural Housing Project housed its first client.

  • 2000

    Construction of Friends House (8 beds/2 bedroom) shelter and crisis center; facility debt-free by October 2000. Chickasaw County added to service area; satellite office opened in New Hampton, IA. Launched pilot program for Project D.A.T.E. (Dating Abuse Tendencies Education); received DHS funding to bring D.A.T.E. to area schools in January, 2001.

  • 2001

    Prevent Child Abuse funds initiated sexual abuse prevention curriculum “Take Charge of Your Body” in area elementary schools.

  • 2002

    Agency website launched; www.cvfriendsofthefamily.org

  • 2005

    Named as a Jubilee Center in partnership with St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Waverly, IA. Friends House emergency safe shelter expanded (14 beds, 5 bedrooms) through a donation from the Bolger Foundation and administration offices moved off-site.

  • 2007

    Administration Office relocated to 100 E. Bremer Ave, 2nd Floor, Suite 1, Waverly, IA 50677.

  • 2008

    Administration Office relocated to 118 E. Bremer, Suite A, Waverly, IA 50677, following the June 2008 flood.

  • 2010

    Administration Office relocated to permanent location in Waverly, IA. A new support service building was funded by Governor Culver’s I-JOB Public Service Shelter Grant in the amount of $266,666.

  • 2011

    Northeast Iowa Permanent Housing Program was started for homeless families and individuals with disabilities. Coaching Boys into Men was introduced to Waverly High School athletics.

  • 2012

    Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention program was first offered for adults interested in preventing child sexual abuse in Bremer, Butler, and Chickasaw Counties.

  • 2013

    The agency’s Northeast Iowa Shelter Services Program funded to provide emergency safe shelter to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in 14 counties of Northeast Iowa. FOF’s advocates transition outreach services to the new providers of comprehensive domestic violence and sexual assault services. FOF adds several new positions to its staff in order to serve the region.

  • 2014

    Awarded by HUD to provide Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) housing assistance to victims of domestic violence in 13 counties of Northeast Iowa.

  • 2017

    Became a Service Enterprise certified organization. This allows us to strategically leverage volunteers to achieve operational efficiency and greater social impact. Service Enterprises are among the top 11 percent of nonprofits in the country in volunteer management and organizational performance.

  • 2018

    Our violence prevention programs are educating thousands of youth and adults on how they can prevent violence. Our housing programs help homeless families and individuals achieve independence and stability. And our emergency shelter program helps victims of violent crime achieve safety and an independent life, free from abuse.

    Rebranded website launched; www.fofia.org

  • 2019

    Began our journey with EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System. EOS is a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools that help FOF get more of what we want from the business. The EOS life helps us to ensure that we are doing what we love with the people we love, while making a huge difference, being compensated appropriately, and with time for other passions.

  • 2021

    Additional funding allowed for the creation and implementation of several new programs. Safely Home - This Continuum of Care funded program is for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking that are experiencing housing instability due to their victimization, Home Free - This Department of Justice funded program is for survivors of sex or labor trafficking who need housing assistance. Black Hawk County Housing Project - This Otto Schoitz Foundation funded program is for individuals experiencing housing insecurity in Black Hawk County, with the goal of ending homelessness. We were also awarded $2.5 million from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund with the goal of providing additional housing opportunities across our service area. Through these changes, we were able to add several additional positions and grow our staff to almost 50 people.

Board of Directors

FOF is governed by a Board of Directors.

The Current Members Are:

  • Mike Isaacson, President 
  • Michele Knaack, Vice President 
  • Melissa Haberstich, Secretary
  •  Tyler Mahncke, Treasurer
  • Jim Denholm
  • Roshawn Berry
  • Melissa Hardman
  • Jordan Shanks
  • Heidi Solheim
  • Jazzlyn Douglas

Would you like to be considered for a position on the board?

Please provide the following information.

  • Contact Information

  • Mailing Address

  • Work Address

  • How did you learn of Friends of the Family?

  • Why are you so interested in serving on the FOF Board?

  • In which areas would you be able to contribute your skills and expertise?

  • Please Specify

  • The Friends of the Family board is a fundraising board; discuss your comfort with raising funds, hosting events, etc. Please include any pertinent connections or affiliations with individuals, corporations, and foundations.

  • Do you currently serve or have served on a non-profit board? Please list previous experiences and how they can assist you in assisting FOF.

  • FOF strives to create a board that represents the many populations in northeast Iowa. Which voice do you reflect from a racial, ethnic, geographic, economic, gender, and religious diversity standpoint?

  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime involving sexual assault or domestic violence, placed on a child abuse registry, or placed on a sex offender registry?