For the tenth year, staff from Metropolitan Planning Organization communities and Johnson County will compete in a holiday challenge to benefit local charities. The Severson Charity Challenge is a friendly competition between local governments that encourages donations to local charities. Staff for the cities of Coralville, North Liberty, and Iowa City along with Johnson County will collect donations for selected charities they have chosen to support during this holiday season.

The “Severson Cup,” an engraved travelling trophy, will be awarded to the government staff that shows the greatest improvement based on the total percentage increase in items or dollars donated over the previous year’s tally. The competition runs between December 1 and January 3rd.

The competition is named for Linda Severson, who served as the Human Resources Planning Coordinator for the MPOJC from 1994 until her death in 2011. Severson coordinated the City of Iowa City’s holiday donation drive each year.  After her death, city and county government staff organized the “Severson Holiday Charity Challenge” to help carry on her generosity. 

What follows is the list of participating government organizations along with their chosen charities:

Iowa City                                  

  • Joan Buxton School Children’s Aid Fund and the Iowa City Senior Center Food Pantry


  • Coralville’s utility bill assistance program, Neighbors Helping Neighbors (support for applicants is managed by United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties) and Food pantry donations for Coralville’s BASP Families

North Liberty                           

  • North Liberty Community Pantry                  

Johnson County                      

  • Johnson County Crisis Center and Cassie’s Mittens

As part of the last Charity Challenge, the MPO communities/county that participated donated just over $6,442 in cash, food, or personal care items. Most recently, Iowa City was awarded the Severson Cup as its staff increased giving by 18.4% narrowly surpassing the 17.6% increase in donations from staff of Johnson County.