In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Hope CDA is an organization committed to equipping individuals to transform their lives through gainful employment and skillful living. The organization is rooted in their faith and the belief that there is importance to helping men as they transition back into daily life after serving their time in prison. Hope CDA is recognized as one of the most unique organizations of its kind in the country. 

Collage of photos from Hope CDA in Cedar Rapids

Positive Life-Focused Programming to Equip Men in Eastern Iowa 

Hope CDA has a 12-month job training program that provides work experience for men with employment barriers. This program is designed to offer holistic training for those who have a desire to be successful in the workplace and in life overall. Hope CDA provides on-the-job experience in the areas of residential construction, woodcrafting, and landscaping in Eastern Iowa. This job training helps provide hands-on skills and mentorship to those participating in the program to help them be successful in their personal lives, which in turn enhances their ability to succeed in the workplace. All participants learn about the importance and work through the challenges of working as part of a team and experiencing a job well done through their on-the-job projects. 

When program participants are not involved in job training, they’re involved in additional life skills training with a dedicated coach or mentor. This training includes but is not limited to:

    • “Faith and Finances” courses, a foundation of managing money with a matched savings program to help build the habit of saving
    • Work-life courses, including teaching principles and practical steps to be successful in the workplace
    • Guidance and assistance transitioning into employment after graduation from Hope CDA’s program
Bearded white man in silver graduation gown standing on the left of a bearded black man also in a silver graduation gown

In addition to the training opportunities, Hope CDA offers decent, affordable housing to men who face barriers to starting a new life while in their program. A minimum of rules helps men in the program who develop new habits and a new way of living while in a safe environment. In the last two years, 14 individuals have graduated from their program.

The History of Hope CDA

In June 2008, Cedar Rapids was hit with a devastating flood. Serve The City, a coalition of approximately 60 churches and nonprofit organizations in the area, was developed to focus on recovery through funding to help displaced individuals safely return to their homes. As the funding through Serve The City continued in the years ahead, Hope CDA was officially organized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2010 to focus on housing assistance and combine a construction jobs training program for those with employment barriers. 

Hope CDA shares that one in three Americans have a criminal record, and there are more than 44,000 legal restrictions imposed upon people with a criminal record, creating barriers that impact housing, education, employment, healthcare, voting, and more. 

The construction training program was launched in September 2015. In 2019 and 2020, the training program grew to include side jobs, like home remodels and bathroom and kitchen updates, and landscaping services. 

FACT: Individuals participating in the Hope CDA programs have restored more than 30 homes in the Wellington Heights area of Cedar Rapids, and two brand-new homes have been built. 

Hope CDA Gala

Each year, Hope CDA hosts a special fundraising event called the Hope CDA Gala. The gala is hosted at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Convention Complex in Cedar Rapids, with over 500 supporters in attendance.

“At our annual gala last year, we had over 500 people, and the evening was tremendous in every way. Wired Production is always professional, they give outstanding advice on how to make an event successful and play an integral role in providing an evening that is acoustically superb and visually superior. With events big and small, they are a difference maker.”

Carl Gonder

Executive Director, Hope CDA

Collage of photos from 2023 Hope CDA Gala at DoubleTree in Cedar Rapids

 Our Wired Production Group team was able to help Hope CDA move their event from a different venue in 2022 to the DoubleTree by Hilton in Downtown Cedar Rapids. Through our event management services, our staff is able to manage venue staff communication, develop room diagrams, advance power needs, and assist with stage design. We’re able to serve Hope CDA in a more personalized manner to ensure their messaging is consistent and high quality – like their audience deserves – through our content management services. 

Wired Production Group is dedicated to providing high-quality service to our customers and building strong relationships with them. We consistently look for opportunities, like the Hope CDA Gala, to help meaningful events grow in community. We look forward to continue supporting the Hope CDA Gala with our video and audio production services as their organization continues to positively impact individuals in Eastern Iowa.

How to Support Hope CDA

  • Volunteer:Hope CDA has a number of volunteer opportunities, including cleaning, transportation, food preparation, mentoring, teaching classes and much more. Please contact Carl Gonder on 319-533-0798 for more information.
  • Donate: Help change a life by donating stocks, bonds, IRA’s, or by becoming a gala sponsorship or table host. We also invite supporters to become an Automatic Monthly Partner. To donate materials or building supplies, please contact Jamie Williams on 319-202-0721.
  • Become a Team Hope Member: Hope CDA is working towards its goal to expand their base of monthly Team Hope donors, who support Hope CDA with annual donation of $300 or more per month
  • Sponsor: In an effort to support growth in its programming, Hope CDA is seeking sponosrs and table hosts for their next Hope CDA Gala on October 24, 2024. 

For more information on Hope CDA, its mission, and its services, please visit Hope CDA online at