Scroll Top


Invest DSM sign among flowers with home with updated white exterior in background


Invest DSM empowers residents and business owners in targeted Des Moines neighborhoods to improve their properties, strengthen their social connections, and create a community that works for them. 

Launched in 2019, Invest DSM is a first-of-its kind nonprofit and community development organization that combines public and private funding to nurture vibrant, healthy, thriving neighborhoods. 

We partner with residents to foster neighborhoods with:

  • Comfortable homes that can adapt to growing families 
  • A variety of thriving, independent businesses within walking distance
  • A diversity of housing choices to accommodate all incomes and family types
  • Safe and smooth streets and sidewalks
  • Public green spaces for recreation 
  • Reasonable energy costs and sustainable building practices 
  • Connection and community among neighbors



Vibrant, healthy, thriving neighborhoods.

  • People out and about — using the parks and trails, walking and running on the sidewalks, shopping at local businesses.
  • The neighborhood is “known” for memorable art or businesses or architecture, as well as a strong sense of community.

  • The neighborhood is a place where it makes sense for people to invest their time, energy, and money.
  • Investment is rewarded.

  • People have the opportunity to live their best life in this neighborhood.
  • The neighborhood is seen as a place that is prospering.

What We Stand For

Invest DSM strives to protect neighborhood residents from reckless private development that could spoil the community’s character and push current residents out. Instead, we work with neighborhoods to make long-term strategic investments that keep families in their homes while also injecting new life into the area, allowing the neighborhood to grow sustainably and adapt to changing times. 

By focusing on the bigger picture and offering opportunities to everyone in the neighborhood, we help families and businesses complete their dream projects — while also investing in comprehensive improvements, like trees and sidewalks, and advocating on resident’s behalf with the city government. 

Our organization is founded on the belief that:

  • Every homeowner in the Des Moines metro area, no matter where they live, should benefit from rising home values, building generational wealth that can move families up the economic ladder. 
  • Every business owner should be able to update and repair outdated property, ensuring they can keep their doors open and thrive financially.
  • A variety of local businesses and restaurants provide nearby shopping and dining options, so residents don’t have to drive to the suburbs. 
  • Every household should have access to safe, restorative green spaces to spend time together as families and neighbors. 
  • Everyone should have a chance to contribute to their community’s future — not just those with considerable resources — so that the whole neighborhood flourishes together.  


Over the past several decades, Des Moines has transformed into a shining gem of the Midwest. The overwhelming success of the downtown development efforts has proven that — when we all come together around a common goal — incredible things can happen. Now it’s time to shift our focus to the neighborhoods where Des Moines residents live, work, play, and shop.

The decline of many of these neighborhoods over the past several decades is not a failure of the residents but a result of decades of disinvestment and neglect from public and private entities. This historical trend has been mirrored in cities across the country as wealth and influence moved to the suburbs.

Many neighborhoods in Des Moines continue to lag behind the suburbs in terms of investment, economic success, and quality of life. Some previously stable areas have experienced enough decline to push them to the edge of deterioration — potentially causing more vacancies, increased crime, and rising poverty throughout the city. 

Fortunately, this decline isn’t an inevitability. Long-term sustainable investment strategies can address this problem — improving quality of life, promoting thriving neighborhood economies, attracting new residents, and keeping people from leaving for the suburbs or other Midwestern metro areas.  

Our city has a proud tradition of successful and sustainable community development. Invest DSM’s efforts are already proving themselves to be the next phase of that enterprise. 


Two young people planting a tree outside a home

Invest DSM’s comprehensive strategy for strengthening neighborhoods is based on expert research and best practices to ensure long-term success. The basic outline of this strategy incorporates:

  • A deliberate focus on Special Investment Districts in middle-market neighborhoods, rather than spreading resources too thinly across the city to make an impact. 
  • Five grant programs that provide funding and support for homeowners, business owners, and developers to complete maintenance, update old systems, and improve the quality and appearance of their properties.
  • Financial assistance for property owners to bridge the gap between the expense of improvements and the expected return on investment, making renovations financially feasible for more families and businesses. 
  • A collaborative approach that provides program participants with the guidance they need to complete complex projects while allowing them to bring their own personal vision to life.
  • Partnering with city and county government, as well as private organizations, to make neighborhood-level investments in trees, parks, roads, sidewalks, and more.
  • Selecting projects based on the potential for success and the biggest return-on-investment.

As the strategy proves successful over time, Invest DSM hopes to expand the boundaries of the Special Investment Districts and make more neighborhoods eligible for funding, eventually transforming residential areas into diverse, mixed-income neighborhoods with rising home prices, a variety of housing options, and thriving local business districts.