icare is a not-for-profit organization based in Urbandale, Iowa, USA.
icare inspires Iowans to champion charitable causes of all kinds through our one-of-a-kind fundraiser, the EAT-A-THON.
Ben Parrott and Kirk Schuler founded icare—short for the “Iowa Central American Relief Effort”—in April 2005 when they were students at Drake University Law School. The seeds that grew into icare were planted a few years earlier. In 2002, Ben studied in Managua and traveled throughout Nicaragua. He lived with a local family, and fell in love with the warm people and vibrant culture. In 2004, and while in law school, Ben and Kirk visited Nicaragua, saw a need that they believed they could fill, and returned with a plan to put their legal skills to work for charity. icare was born.
Goals of making the world a little better meant that icare needed a fundraiser. Why not an eating contest among law school classmates? In 2006, a dozen law students compEATed to see who could eat the most chicken wings to raise the most money for icare. We thought we would raise a couple dollars, we raised a couple thousand. As the EAT-A-THON grew over the years, it became bigger than icare’s needs, and we asked local Iowa nonprofits to join in the fun so we could raise money together in what has become the most unique nonprofit community fundraiser in the universe! The EAT-A-THON has since shaped icare’s mission, and while icare continues to provide relief to communities in Central America, it has turned its focus to helping our communities in Central Iowa through its annual fundraiser. More about icare’s annual fundraiser can be found at the “EAT-A-THON” tab. Read on for a very brief summary of icare’s history and projects in Central America.
icare’s first project updated the chemotherapy clinic at the Hospitál Escuela Oscar Danilo Rosales in León, Nicaragua–proving bedding, air conditioning, plumbing, and other necessities. icare also collected clothing and medical supplies and delivered them to Nicaragua to support poor cancer patients.
In 2013, icare added two new board members and an immense amount of talent and passion. Blake McKibbin, another Drake Law grad, officially joined the board after unofficially helping to lead icare since creating (and placing second) in the first EAT-A-THON in 2006. Bethney Ahrendsen, also a long-time friend and supporter of icare, is a Drake MBA grad who brings a business background, serious marketing chops, and a big heart.
icare’s longest-running project, apart from the EAT-A-THON, continues to support a women’s health care advocate in Managua, Nicaragua. Maritza Medrano visits the country’s poorest cancer victims on icare’s behalf. She supports them physically, emotionally, spiritually, and fights for them to get the health care all people deserve. A portion of EAT-A-THON proceeds continues to support this project.
The United States Government awarded icare 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in 2005. As a result, donations to icare are tax deductible.
Our Board of Directors:
Our Coordinator in Nicaragua: