1 million gift from  Joanie & Dan Houston and the Principal Foundation launches $10 Million Forward Together Campaign at ChildServe

New Pediatric Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit to be named “JoJo’s” in honor of Joanie

ChildServe, a pediatric specialty healthcare organization that serves more than 4,500 children in Iowa each year, just announced a $10 million fundraising effort to address growing and unmet needs.  

Forward Together Campaign Chair Tom Mahoney explained the multi-purpose campaign will make it possible for ChildServe to: 

  • Create a new state-of-the-art inpatient rehabilitation medicine unit, the only pediatric facility of its kind in Iowa. Its areas of specialization include pediatric brain injury, multi-trauma, orthopedic, spinal cord and burn and wound care.
  • Start up a pediatric behavioral health and autism clinic that will greatly expand the capacity for ChildServe to better support children with dual diagnoses of developmental delays or disabilities, plus mental health needs.  
  • Provide specialized 24/7 nursing care for the growing population of individuals who previously would have “aged out” of ChildServe into an adult system with few, if any, appropriate placement options for their level of medical complexity.

Mahoney and ChildServe CEO Teri Wahlig, MD reported on and celebrated the early success of the Campaign during the organization’s annual meeting.  

“We’re grateful for the $5.81 million in gift commitments we’ve already secured, “said Dr. Wahlig. “That number represents the collective impact of 93 donors including several who are first-time givers to ChildServe.

ChildServe Trustee Joanie Houston and her husband, Dan, who serves as Principal Financial Group Chairman, President, and CEO provided the lead gift. The Houstons’ charitable investment in ChildServe includes a $500,000 personal gift, plus $500,000 in matching gift program dollars provided by Principal’s philanthropic arm, the Principal Foundation. 

Dan Houston and the ChildServe Foundation team surprised Joanie with the name and creative design of JoJo’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit. JoJo is what the Houstons’ grandchildren call Joanie.

 “Joanie and I have long believed that every child deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy, educated, and safe,” said Dan Houston. “ChildServe has shown us that believing in the spirit of a child can change lives, including our own. Joanie and I, along with the Principal Foundation, thank everyone who has provided their early financial support and encourage others to give to ChildServe’s campaign so we can continue to move Forward Together.” 

ChildServe’s campaign team will reach out to additional charitable individuals, families, corporations and foundations to raise the balance of the $10 million needed for the capital improvements, technology and equipment, program startup support and additional pediatric experts. To donate or to learn more visit http://www.ChildServe.org/Forward-Together 

About ChildServe

ChildServe knows kids and we know specialty healthcare. When parents have questions about their child’s health and development, we’re here with answers and support for the whole family– so we can all move Forward Together. Our team of experts helps identify and meet the unique needs of children with developmental delays, disabilities, injuries, and other special healthcare needs to help them live a great life.

For over 90 years, ChildServe has partnered with families to provide much-needed healthcare services and support for children and teens from birth to age 21. We currently offer more than 30 services, including pediatric rehabilitation, physical, occupational and speech therapy, long-term care, behavioral health and autism, and more to meet the needs of 4,600 children across the state each year.


ChildServe improves the health and well-being of nearly 5,800 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, injuries, and other special healthcare needs.

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