Des Moines Public Schools is fortunate to work with many partners throughout the community who support our students and families. One of them is Athene USA, which for 27 years has provided thousands of coats and pairs of boots. As winter approaches, and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Athene didn’t let down in their support, safely providing new coats and boots for nearly 1,500 students at four DMPS elementary schools.
Athene USA (“Athene”), a leading provider of retirement savings products, donated winter clothing essentials to nearly 1,500 children at Cattell, McKinley, Howe and Studebaker elementary schools through its annual Coats & Boots program.
Now in its 27th year, Coats & Boots originally started as a relief effort to provide support to victims of the 1993 floods. The program has evolved into a 27-year legacy program that has supplied coats and boots to an estimated 15,200 students in Central Iowa.
“Athene is committed to engaging actively in our communities, and you will see that reflected in our company’s giving philosophy and in programs like Coats & Boots,” said Grant Kvalheim, CEO and president of Athene USA. “Coats & Boots was started 27 years ago during a time when our community was facing the aftermath of the 1993 floods. Des Moines finds itself again at a pivotal recovery moment as we navigate the impacts of the pandemic. Despite the new challenges being faced, the need for warm coats and boots for children remains the same. We are proud to continue supporting children at four local elementary schools through Coats & Boots.”
The program focuses its support on four Des Moines metro schools who have the greatest population of students in need by equipping them with a new winter coat and pair of snow boots to be better prepared for Iowa’s harsh winters.
“When Athene reached out to us about the Coats & Boots program for this year, we were honestly surprised it was still happening given the COVID-19 situation,” said Trent Williams, Principal at Howe Elementary School. “The pandemic has led to a great deal of uncertainty, and it means more than ever that this longtime program will continue to benefit our kids who have been through so much this year. Knowing they will be able to get outside and play safely and warmly this winter is a huge relief since outdoor play is crucial to our children’s physical and mental health.”
Coats & Boots is Athene’s signature giving program, and more than 100 employee volunteers helped to make this year’s program a success. In addition to the winter clothing donated to the four Des Moines schools, Athene will also donate roughly 200 coats and boots to West Des Moines Human Services Clothing Closet, where they will be available at no cost to families in need. The coats and boots are provided by the Athene USA Charitable Foundation with the support of JC Penney and Shoe Carnival.