Numbers are important, but people are what matter most.

Able Up Iowa
Member Spotlight

Meet Jane

We could not be more excited for our very first forgivable loan recipient!

Jane’s hearing loss was getting progressively worse when she suddenly lost her job. The lack of income, plus the additional expense of purchasing hearing aids, added significant stress to Jane’s already busy life. After unsuccessfully working with her insurance company, Jane wasn’t sure where else to turn. Many job opportunities were not available until she could get hearing aids.

That’s when Jane learned about Able Up Iowa. Our new forgivable loan program had just launched and Jane was approved in only a few short weeks!

Within the first week of getting her hearing aids, Jane got a new job. She is now working with our Financial Empowerment Director to create personalized goals to help her gain even more financial independence.

Meet Carl

Meet Brittney & Dawn

Meet The Carlson Family

Meet Jeremy

Meet Todd

Meet Jimmy & Mary

Meet Pamela

Meet Joe

Meet Robert

Meet Susan

Meet Michaella

Meet the Teske Family

Meet Carl

When Carl came to Able Up Iowa, he wasn’t sure where else to turn. As a disabled veteran on a fixed income, there were not many options for improving his credit. However, once he learned about Able Up Iowa’s credit builder loan, everything changed.

“I would like to thank Able Up Iowa for giving me the opportunity to rebuild my credit. At the time it was a godsend because I was in dire straits and had nowhere to turn.”

Carl enjoyed working with the team and learning all the steps he could take to improve his credit.

“My first interaction with Able Up Iowa was very professional and caring and instrumental in guiding me through the process.”

Carl now wants others to know about the services at Able Up Iowa. He is determined to help his friends and family build their credit using the tools and skills he has gained.

“Never give up! The help is out there. I wish there were more organization like Able Up Iowa, what a great bunch of people I am forever grateful.”

Meet Brittney & Dawn

Dawn and her family have always had a “pay-as-you-go” attitude about things. They never wanted to take on more than they could afford. But when their daughter, Brittney, received an electric wheelchair in middle school, their focus turned toward acquiring a larger van with a motorized lift.

“We tried to get traditional financing, but with the economy the way it is, the APR was way too high,” explained Dawn. A company in Indianola that specializes in mobility told her about possible financing through Able Up Iowa. “If it weren’t for Iowa Able, I’m not sure what we would have done. It did help that the van already had a side lift, so we were able to acquire the financing,” added Dawn.

Born with Spina Bifida, Brittney spent most of her life in a manual wheelchair. When it came time for transport, her parents would have to lift her into and out of their minivan. As years went by, it just became too difficult. Now, Brittney is able to stay seated in her electric wheelchair and use the ramp to get in and out of the van. “Before we had the back lift installed, we used to have to park so far away because of the space we needed,” said Brittney. Now, she just scoots down the ramp and she’s there.

Their modified van has provided greater independence for both Brittney and her family. Graduating from East High School, Brittney is now looking toward furthering her education or getting a job. It also has allowed the Kramer family to concentrate on things other than Brittney’s transportation needs.

When asked if she had any advice for others who may need some assistance, Dawn was quick to point out how important it is to ask a lot of questions – of your social worker or social security. If they don’t know the answers, they’ll find out. There are resources out there that are willing to help, like Able Up Iowa.

“Able Up Iowa gives a person a second chance at life. When you find yourself sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself, the walls feel like they’re closing in on you, Able Up Iowa can help you get out of the house and back to work. You’ll feel a world of difference. Through Able Up Iowa, there is a way out.”

Meet The Carlson Family

Rebecca’s six-year-old daughter has Cardiofaciocutaneous Syndrome, which is a rare genetic disorder that affects many parts of the body. Her daughter uses a feeding tube and needs a wheelchair. Transportation has always been a challenge for the family and as her daughter has gotten older, it’s only become more difficult. Rebecca was initially nervous when she realized they needed to purchase a modified vehicle because she wasn’t sure how they would afford it. However, after a lot of research Rebecca found Able Up Iowa and everything started falling into place. Rebecca shared how this van has transformed their life.

“Acquiring our new van couldn’t have happened without you. And we are so blessed! Thank you for everything!”

Meet Jeremy

Jeremy is a C6 C7 quadriplegic who was referred to Able Up Iowa by his case manager when he was looking to purchase an accessible vehicle. Jeremy and his girlfriend recently purchased a home with no modifications for accessibility. He initially reached out to his insurance to see if they could help cover the cost of building ramps to get in and out of his home (the couple was using a makeshift ramp that was unsafe and difficult to use). After jumping through many hoops and continuing to live without modifications, Jeremy decided to reach out to Able Up Iowa. Through the Financial Solutions program, Jeremy was able to obtain the ramps he needed and other modifications in the home, including egress windows in the basement so he could safely occupy the basement. These modifications have allowed Jeremy more freedom and safety. He can now enter and exit his home without the help of others. The couple is very happy with the work they had done on their home and are thankful to Able Up Iowa for pulling through and helping them fund the project!

Meet Todd

“When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis they gave me basically five to seven years before I’d be in a wheelchair permanently.  That obviously scared me to death, so I’ve been working very hard to maintain my capabilities,” shared Todd.

When Todd and his young family moved into their current home in Des Moines, the basement was a blank canvas. To make it handicap accessible, they tried the conventional loan route, but the economy was at its worst. “The banks were pretty tight at lending money to anyone, especially someone who didn’t work and was 100% disabled.”

“I was directed to Able Up Iowa as a place that might possibly be able to help,” explained Todd.  He contacted the non-profit, supplied them with his plans and filled out the application. Within two weeks, Todd and his family were able to obtain a loan. The Able Up Iowa loan allowed them to finish the basement, which includes a living space with a bedroom, and complete much of the plumbing and major work in the bathroom area.

Being able to accomplish his daily needs like having an accessible shower and bathroom and a workout area to stretch his muscles is critical for Todd.  “Realizing that this basement is completely handicap accessible provides real security for me and my family going forward. Able Up Iowa was a life saver for allowing me to do this. They’ve provided me with that security,” concluded Todd. And as we all know, with security comes peace-of-mind.

Meet Jimmy & Mary

Jimmy and Mary were looking for a vehicle to take Jimmy to and from his frequent doctor’s appointments in Des Moines. Because of their lack of credit their credit score wasn’t high enough to take out a loan at a traditional bank. This left them reaching out to family and friends for rides to these appointments. The couple was frustrated and continued to reach out to find help. Finally, the couple stumbled across Able Up Iowa. Mary said that the staff at Able Up Iowa were the first ones to give them hope. The staff made the application process as stress-free as possible. The couple now have a vehicle that fits their needs and allows them to be more independent. (In fact they are so happy with it that they won’t even let their son drive it!) And thanks to Able Up Iowa for reporting their payments to the credit bureau, Jimmy’s credit score has increased over 150 points in less than two years!

“We didn’t have the cash, our credit wasn’t the best, and we couldn’t go through the bank. When
we talked with Able Up Iowa, I almost started crying because they were the first one to give us hope.”

Meet Pamela

Pamela credits her recent job promotion in sales to Able Up Iowa. For many months, Pamela had to rely on the city’s Mini-bus to get to and from work. “The Mini-bus was not dependable, it was always running behind.”

Although Pamela had a vehicle, she wasn’t able to use it because the repairs were too expensive. “My van needed some major repairs and since the original interest rate on my van was so high and I couldn’t afford to have repairs done,” shared Pamela.

It wasn’t until Pamela came into contact with Able Up Iowa that things started looking up. “The low interest loan from Able Up Iowa allowed me to purchase new tires and brakes, a wheelchair and pay off other items as well.”

Now that she has a fixed car, Pamela can work weekends, giving her new opportunities at her job. “I am now able to work hours I wasn’t able to before. And, I can work weekends -- when the Mini-bus doesn’t run at all,” said Pamela. “Being able to work Saturdays and Sundays is a big reason I just got a promotion.”

“Able Up Iowa allowed me to save thousands of dollars that I did not have. It also gave me the ability to keep working. It’s a wonderful program for someone in my condition,” shared Pamela, who has had numerous back and knee surgeries.

“I hope I won’t need Able Up Iowa again. But, if I do, I know that they’re there. And, I’ll do everything possible to help them help others.”

Meet Joe

After having a stroke, Joe had to make a critical decision affecting his livelihood. Years before, his excavation equipment had been acquired under a lease-purchase program and the time had come to either pay the residual on it or give back the machine.

“This situation happened at the same time the economy was souring. It was impossible to get a
bank loan,”
said Joe. “I had heard about Able Up Iowa through Iowa Compass and thought I would give them a try. I’m usually skeptical of organizations that talk a good show but never follow through. This wasn’t the case with Iowa Able,” said Joe.

“Able Up Iowa has been the enabling financial resource to get myself back to work. My recommendation to people is to try Able Up Iowa. They believed in my idea and came through for me when I needed them most.”

Meet Robert

Robert came to Able Up Iowa seeking help with funding for a computer. But not just any computer would work for Robert. He needed a modified computer to accommodate for his glaucoma, which had taken its toll on his vision.

With the help of Able Up Iowa, Robert was able to purchase a rebuilt computer with a magnifier unit. This computer allowed Robert to keep him up to date on all things going on in the world around him, stay in contact with his family, and even reach some of his personal and educational goals!

Meet Susan

Susan came to Able Up Iowa for help because she needed a little extra money for some minor car repairs. Her car loan was at 24% rate with a high monthly payment. When Susan started working with our financial coach, they began by getting a copy of her credit report. This allowed them to know what her credit issues were and develop a plan to tackle them.

Next, they worked on compressing her budget so she would have more money available each month. Susan began reviewing what she was spending her money on to see whether she was getting the best value. She checked whether the gas she was buying gave her the best mileage and learned how to shop for the best car insurance. After searching, Susan found she could save over $400 per year on her car insurance alone.

With her continued hard work, understanding of her options, and improving her credit and budget, Susan and her coach were able to approve her for a 7.75% interest rate loan and out of her 24% loan. This means Susan has a better loan at a lower interest rate, plus she was able to get her car fixed at the same time!

“I want to thank Able Up Iowa for the opportunity to better my situation. It has relieved a great deal of stress and improved my quality of living. I am grateful for your services!”

Meet Michaella

Michaella Coopman received her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in mathematics. She then received her Masters from Northwestern in Business Administration. 

On Sunday, August 20th, Michaella sustained a life-altering injury resulting from a large distance fall from her apartment balcony in Aurora, CO. The fall caused severe shattering of her T11 and T12 vertebrae, resulting in a severe spinal cord injury.

Michaella applied and received a loan for a modified vehicle to help her get to medical appointments and be independent. Prior to the loan, she had a vehicle that didn’t make it possible to transport her or her wheelchair. Michaella shared with Able Up Iowa that “my accident was a blessing and a curse at the same time. A curse because I am unable to do some things that I love, but a blessing cause you really realize who your true friends are” and “there is a lot of struggle, but there is a lot of struggle being able bodied too. It’s just different kinds of struggles.”

Michaella has a positive outlook for her future. She is looking forward to getting married to her boyfriend and her future. She wants a child – to write a blog – and to be part of a clinical trial and walk again.

Meet the Teske Family

When Daleney Teske was born at 27 weeks, she was a micro-preemie, weighing only 1 lb. 13 oz. She was born with spastic quadriplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that affects all four of her limbs. Her first 93 days of life were spent in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where her parents would cautiously call in each morning to find out ‘what the weather was like overnight.’

From day one, Daleney displayed her fighting spirit. To help with her development, the Teske family was constantly looking ahead. But with progress, came expenses.

After discovering that a heated therapy pool made a significant impact in Daneley’s physical therapy, the Teskes looked for a way to have access to a pool every day. “At first, banks didn’t want to loan us the money to buy our own therapy pool because of our credit score,” explains David, Daleney’s father. “It wasn’t until we were introduced to Able Up Iowa that things started to change. When they stepped up with half of the financing we needed, we were able to acquire the other half through a local bank.” Over the years, the consistent use of the therapy pool has kept Daleney’s muscles loosened up which has opened the doors for other medical opportunities.

“We were not sure that she’d ever manage the skill of potty training,” shared David. But with her determination, it quickly became obvious that a handicap accessible bathroom and shower were needed. Along with money from Medicaid, they again, acquired a loan through Able Up Iowa. “Because of our good repayment history on our first loan, we were granted another loan to help finish the bathroom.”

“Just this year, she’s started showering by herself,” said Dayna, Daleney’s mother. “She uses a modified bathroom chair and a hand-held sprayer that’s low enough so she can hang it up. Without the new shower, she wouldn’t be nearly as independent as she is now. It’s an incredible feeling.”

“Had Able Up Iowa not stepped up, these things could not have been possible and she would not be where she is today. They’ve been a life-saver,” added Dayna.

We believe every Iowan deserves the opportunity to to live independently.

Here are three ways you can help.

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Please note we have recently changed our name from Iowa Able Foundation to Able Up Iowa.