Staff from the City of North Liberty won this year’s Severson Holiday Charity Challenge, and as a result will display the engraved Severson Cup traveling trophy in their office throughout 2016 for earning the greatest percentage growth in donations over last year.

Five government entities -- Coralville, Iowa City, Johnson County, North Liberty, and University Heights -- participated in the annual charity drive for local nonprofits. The event is named for the late Linda Severson, who worked with all the participating entities in her role as Human Services Coordinator for the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County (MPOJC).

As part of the challenge, each government office selected a nonprofit to support, and then attempted to win the competition by collecting more donations than last year for their agency of choice.

North Liberty staff members collected 3,286 items for the North Liberty Community Pantry, representing a 67% increase in donations over last year. Staff from Coralville took second place, increasing their volume of donations to the Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry by 45% over last year. They donated more than 6,700 items to the Coralville pantry.

Other participants were the City of Iowa City, supporting the Joan Buxton School Children’s Aid Fund; Johnson County, collecting for Cassie’s Mittens and the Crisis Center; and University Heights, whose charity was the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City.

In total, 12,182 items and $1,335 in monetary gifts were donated.

This was the fifth year for the challenge, which carries on the charitable holiday drives that Severson spearheaded every year. The first Severson Holiday Charity Challenge was organized during the 2011 holiday season, four months after her death.

This is the first time North Liberty has won the contest. Previous winners have been University Heights, which took the trophy for three consecutive years, and Coralville.

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

Date of publication

Thursday, January 28, 2016