about icare

The Iowa-Central American Relief Effort (icare) is a not-for-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa, United States. Ben Parrott and Kirk Schuler founded icare 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 and returned with a plan to put their legal skills to work for charity.  icare was born.

Our mission was, and remains, simple: to help people in Iowa and Central America.  

icare’s first project provided the Hospitál Escuela Oscar Danilo Rosales in León, Nicaragua, with bedding, air conditioning, plumbing, and other necessities.  icare has also collected clothing and medical supplies, delivered them to Nicaragua, and distributed the goods to people battling cancer.

Currently, icare’s primary project supports 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. To support this project and give back to local Iowa charities, icare hosts an annual EAT-A-THON fundraiser.

In 2013, icare added two new board members and an immense amount of talent and passion. Blake McKibbin 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.

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:

i-care's BOD: Ben, Bethney, Blake, and Kirk

i-care’s board: Ben, Bethney, Blake, and Kirk

Our Coordinator in Nicaragua:

Maritza in Madison County

Maritza Medrano (visiting Madison County, Iowa!)