NAMI Dubuque, Nat. Alliance on Mental Illness/DBQ

A nonprofit organization

$416 raised by 12 donors

8% complete

$5,000 Goal

NAMI Dubuque is an affiliate chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) National. NAMI started back in the 1970s in the Midwest when a group of families came together in support and in advocacy of someone they loved, who had a lived experience with brain and mental health. Since then, NAMI has grown into the nation’s largest advocacy group that has over 600 affiliates nationwide whose mission it is to make the world stigma-free. NAMI Dubuque received it’s nonprofit status in 1996 and was primarily run out of the homes of the founding family members and eventually moved into church community rooms and other available spaces.

At our newly renovated, program center in downtown Dubuque we focus on education, support and advocacy for peers and their families. Our signature programs, support groups, classes, presentations, WRAP, public speaking engagements, suicide prevention and outreach, recovery and substance use support, 1:1 peer and family support, community outreach, student training and mentor training opportunities are built upon the model of peer support. What that means is that our lens is focused on person-centered approaches where we believe that relationships are the core of where healing begins. 

Our evidence-based programming fills in a large gap in care because we are supportive in nature and complimentary to the traditional medical model. Our mission to be incredibly accessible, approachable, and equitable in our methods of working with individuals seeking brain health management and its important to us to  help families strengthen their knowledge and systems on how to navigate a mental health crisis and continue to seek positive outcomes. We meet needs of our community by providing an accessible and interim piece of care, where our accessibility is crucial to the positive outcomes of our peers and families.

In the winter of December 2021, we became an Americorps VISTA host site and moved from an all volunteer-run organization to having a  growth mindset and options for program capacity support. With our partnership with Volunteer Iowa, we now have a core team of seven and 18 volunteer facilitators between Dubuque, Jones and Delaware County.

In May of 2022, we began exploring options for moving NAMI Dubuque to be become more approachable, equitable and sustainable in our methods of serving the Dubuque community and in about 8 months, we moved from our beloved home in the Millwork Collective/Schmid Innovation Center to a 3700 sq ft new program center. We had our soft program launch in February of 2023, grand opening March 30th, 2023 and just had our second annual fundraiser on April 15th of this year which was sponsored by the DRA, Brain Health Now and support from Premier Bank.

In 2022 we served just over 630 people, in total. And on average for 2023 since the opening of our center we serve over 150 individuals per month. This expansion project has been very accelerated, very intentional, as our work is crucial, timely, very now and very needed. 

In September we hosted our first annual suicide awareness walk on World Suicide Prevention Day sponsored by MercyOne, the DRA and Brain Health now. It was an amazing afternoon of shared experiences and fellowship serving 278 walkers.

In October of this year, we opened a second location in Delaware County, continue to serve our community through our man campus in Dubuque by adding recovery and substance use programs, eating disorder groups, veteran support, women's groups, and on-site partnerships with the Dubuque County Jail, Liberty Recovery, MercyOne (NAMI student-led groups), the University of Dubuque, the YMCA (afterschool and counselor education) and the Penn Center in Delhi, Iowa. We have working relationships with other amazing organization and will keep expanding into 2024.

Our NAMI team continues to public speak, keynote, facilitate panels and engage our service area through grant funded programming made possible by Theisen's, UD Grants for Tech, McDonough Foundation, the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County, Dyersville Community Foundation, Jones County Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. 

At NAMI Dubuque we are creating opportunities for people to invest in themselves, and we are creating opportunities for healing, for hope, for positive treatment outcomes, for better brain health management, for more fluid communication, for more defined understanding of crisis planning, we are creating opportunities for the right kind of education, and if you keep creating opportunities people will take them, because we want the opportunity to feel loved, and valued, and accepted and that’s a large part of who we are, what we do and why.

Thank you for reading and choosing NAMI Dubuque as part of your great give. 

Recognition Highlights:

September 2022: Rising Star Award (Britni Farber)

February 2023: Community Impact Award (NAMI Dubuque)

June 2023: Governors Volunteer Awards (Jim Vansteenburg and Barb Otting)

Organization Data


Organization name

NAMI Dubuque, Nat. Alliance on Mental Illness/DBQ

other names

NAMI Dubuque

Tax id (EIN)



Education Health Community


225 West 6th Street


563 557 6264

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