who we are

chrysalis mission

Chrysalis invests in the safety, security, education, and economic empowerment of girls and women in our community. We do this in partnership with agencies and services vital to girls' and women's success through grants, community education, and donor support.

chrysalis vision

To be the leading organization supporting and sharing the success of girls and women who are independent and contributing members of our community.

Where it began

In 1989, three Des Moines women created a legacy. Louise Rosenfield Noun brought together her friends Senator Elaine Szymoniak and attorney Barbara Barrett out of a concern for the future of girls and women. They launched the Chrysalis Foundation.

These three knew that girls and women faced great challenges to their success by simply being female, and that disparities are multiplied for girls and women of color, single mothers, and women without an education. They also knew that less than 7% of all foundation funding reached programs specifically for girls and women.

Focusing on the unmet needs of girls and women, Chrysalis provided scholarships, emergency funds, and conference sponsorships to community organizations focused on the quality of life for females in Greater Des Moines.

Since that time, we expanded our board, hired staff members, and created our signature program, Chrysalis After-School, now serving hundreds of adolescent girls every year.  Using research and evaluation, Chrysalis now funds the most effective programs ensuring that girls are confident, strong, and resilient; women have all the rights and opportunities men do; and every citizen values and supports the success of girls and women.

Louise Rosenfield Noun intended to guarantee the work of Chrysalis continues, and because of her endowment, no contributed dollars are used to fund operations.

100% of every gift to Chrysalis reaches girls and women in Polk, Warren, and Dallas Counties.


Despite considerable progress over the years, women and girls still face glaring disparities in Iowa: one in 5 women are sexually assaulted during college, nearly 1,000 girls and women are homeless every day, one of 10 girls drops out of high school, and 70% of Iowa's female-headed households are living at or just above the poverty level.

Decades of research have proven that investments in girls and women reduce poverty, increase productivity, enhance economic growth, and bring new perspectives to the world's problems.

Chrysalis believes all girls and women should have the opportunities they need to be safe, secure, educated, and independent, and we continue to prove that our work is the most effective strategy to achieve this goal.

This is why Chrysalis After-School programs expand to involve more than 800 adolescent girls in building knowledge for their future each year.

It's why our community grant partners effectively deliver shelter, job and life skills, financial literacy, and ongoing mentoring to over 13,000 each year.

It's why 42 Chrysalis scholarships have helped young women move from high school to college since 2014.

And it’s why Chrysalis continues to train, coach, educate, and mentor partners and agencies using what we’ve learned over our 30 years.

Our founders

Louise Noun

Barbara Barrett

Elaine Szymoniak