Who we are

Our mission

To create an environment that empowers women in crisis to achieve positive long-term change

Shelter, Safety and Support

For more than 35 years, Beacon of Life has been a guiding light for women in our community experiencing homelessness due to trauma, substance abuse, domestic violence and incarceration. Of our residents, 85 percent are rebuilding self-sufficiency after being involved in the criminal justice system. Our program isn’t just about finding a job or having a place to live — it’s about repairing broken relationships, building new ones, creating boundaries and strengthening the mind, body and spirit.


Beacon of Life, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is the only shelter in Central Iowa that provides transitional housing with supportive services in a structured environment exclusive to women. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, our safe and secure facility is fully equipped with a pantry, kitchen, laundry room, activity room and around-the-clock staff for 34 women. It affords both anonymity and a sense of belonging, allowing our residents to overcome addictions, trauma and personal struggles through our financial, health and wellness, employment and recovery programs.


We appreciate financial gifts of all sizes, as well as the following in-kind donations for our resident facility (in order of importance):

• Copy paper

• Liquid dish soup

• DART bus tokens

• Cleaning supplies (glass, all purpose, toilet)

• Paper towels

• New women’s underwear (all sizes)

• New socks (all sizes)

• New bras (all sizes)

• Kitchen drying towels

• Liquid laundry soap

• Feminine hygiene products


For direct shipment to Beacon of Life, use Amazon Smile to purchase these products — and .05 percent of the proceeds will be donated back to our organization!



Keshia Meissner, Executive Director

Keshia is responsible for the overall strategic plan and operations of the Beacon, including staff, programs, expansion, fundraising/development and execution of its mission.

Julie Hewitt, Case Manager & Intake Coordinator

Julie is responsible for providing comprehensive assessment, planning, implementation and overall evaluation of each of our resident’s needs.

Robyn White, Community Outreach Coordinator

Robyn manages the operations and development of the Beacon Boutique, volunteer training and recruitment, and community engagement and awareness.

Linda Pallwitz, Administrative Assistant

Linda manages day-to-day operations at the Beacon as the friendly face that greets you at the front desk.

Board of Directors

Travis Simpson


Member since October 2015

Chris Alt

Vice President

Member since 2014

Lindsey Mathews

Past President

Member since 2014

Alli Moerman

Fundraising Chair

Member since July 2014

Dale Sikes

At Large Board Member

Member since 2013

Jill Niswander

At Large Board Member

Member since 2016

John Ferguson

At Large Board Member

Member since 2016


Beacon of Life is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Our mission is to create a self-sustaining organization through sound financial investments and our own entrepreneurial efforts (i.e. Beacon Boutique in West Des Moines). We are currently funded through private / government grants, and personal / corporate donations.

No, we are local to and for Des Moines, with only one location.

Because we are a private and local nonprofit, 100% of our donations go directly to Beacon of Life for immediate use. Our donors have great satisfaction knowing their gifts stay local and directly impact their own community.

Our organization offers much more than a blanket, a cot, and a warm meal. We are a transitional home, offering a hand up, not a hand out. The residents of Beacon of Life have expectations – much like those of a functional family – including to secure and retain a job, pay rent / bills, participate in meals and household chores, respect curfews, commit to self-improvement, etc.

Yes, all monetary and in-kind donations are tax-deductible by showing receipt. Beacon will issue a tax receipt for your records at time of donation.

Annual Report