For the fifth year in a row, co-workers, colleagues, and friends of the late Linda Severson will carry on her legacy by collecting donations for area nonprofits and charities as part of the Severson Holiday Charity Challenge. Severson, who served as the Human Resources Planning Coordinator for the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County (MPOJC) from 1994 until her death in 2011, coordinated the City of Iowa City’s holiday donation drive each year to help those in need.  After her death, city and county government staff with whom she had worked organized the holiday challenge to continue her work in her memory. 

The challenge sets up a friendly donation competition between area government entities, each of which selects the charity they wish to support. At the end of the competition, the “Severson Cup,” an engraved travelling trophy, is awarded to the staff and elected or appointed officials that demonstrate the greatest increase in donations over last year. The challenge runs through Monday, Jan. 4.

The governmental entities that will participate this year, along with the charitable organizations for which they’ll be collecting donations, are as follows:

  • Iowa City: Joan Buxton School Children’s Aid Fund
  • Coralville: Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry
  • North Liberty: North Liberty Community Pantry                  
  • University Heights: Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City
  • Johnson County: Cassie’s Mittens and Crisis Center

University Heights took top honors in last year’s challenge.  Overall, the Severson Holiday Charity Challenge brought in more than 11,000 donated items for people in need throughout Johnson County in the 2014 competition. 

For more information, contact Sarah Walz, MPOJC Assistant Transportation Planner, at 319-356-5239 or

Date of publication

Thursday, December 10, 2015