• By Degrees Foundation

Record-Breaking Sweet Dreams!

For thirteen years, some of Des Moines’ most philanthropic women have gathered to celebrate and support our work with Des Moines students. What began as a small get-together in the homes of our most committed donors has grown into a record-breaking event. On April 30, more than 250 women gathered at the home of Andrea and Greg Abel to benefit the 1200+ students in our programs at Findley Elementary, Harding Middle, and North High Schools. It was our most successful fundraising event ever, raising more than $60,000 to support our culture of postsecondary education and careers.

By Degrees Staff, Board, Sweet Dreams Committee, and Sweet Dreams Host

History of Sweet Dreams

In 2006, the By Degrees Foundation (formerly Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation) partnered with the first grade class at King Elementary School in Des Moines. All 45 students were provided with academic, social, and emotional support through elementary, middle, and high school.

In 2007, Sweet Dreams began as a small fundraiser for those 45 students and grew every year as our King Dreamers moved into middle and high school. In 2018, they graduated from high school and began their postsecondary journeys.

Sweet Dreams, a festive spring open house event for women, has raised more than half a million dollars for the King Dreamers over the last thirteen years. The event leverages friendships to make a big philanthropic impact, offering a relatively casual alternative to a traditional gala or sit-down dinner. To maintain a degree of familiarity, friendship, and personal relationships, the Sweet Dreams committee hand addresses all 900+ invitations, prepares all food and desserts, and serves all beverages.

This year’s event was our largest ever, celebrating the success of our King Dreamers and reinforcing our current work at the Dreamer Academy. Our beautiful host venue at the Abel home provided an incredible backdrop to a spring evening, and pictures can be viewed here: https://maharryphotography.smugmug.com/Events/The-13th-Annual-Sweet-Dreams-ENTIRE-UNEDITED-Gallery-Link/

Stay Connected

To learn more about our work, schedule a tour of our Findley Elementary Dreamer Academy. Tours last about an hour and visitors are able to meet students, staff, and teachers, and learn about how we integrate a complete culture of postsecondary education and careers into the school day.

Support a class of Findley scholars through our new Sponsor a Scholar giving circle. The Sponsor a Scholar Giving Circle engages the next generation of philanthropists making an impact in their communities. With an annual Sponsor a Scholar gift, you can support a class of Findley scholars while receiving volunteer opportunities in and with your class of students. You’ll also receive invitations to regular giving circle events and meet longtime By Degrees donors.

To learn more about Sweet Dreams, schedule a tour, or request information on Sponsor a Scholar, please contact Amanda Shetler at amanda@bydegreesfoundation.org or 515.271.2183.


We recognize the transformational impact incremental changes can make on a student’s life. Partnering with entire schools, we work to increase high school graduation and postsecondary readiness rates while engaging community partnerships to uplift students, families, and whole neighborhoods.


mailing: PO Box 41070

Des Moines, IA 50311




You'll receive quarterly newsletters, event updates, and program announcements

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

© 2020 By Degrees Foundation