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From player to coach, making a mark on Iowa soccer

Peter Kitundu has been playing soccer for more than 45 years; it is a part of his life and one of his greatest passions.

Peter has been lucky enough to have some wonderful coaches during his time playing soccer, and now he pays it forward with the next generation. He’s been coaching and mentoring young people through the Des Moines Soccer Club and West Des Moines Soccer Club for nearly 13 years.

“It’s always important to give back,” said Peter, who’s the vice president, chief compliance and privacy officer for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “I think of all the great experiences I had when I was growing up. I think about my teammates, all the friends I’ve made and then I think of all the coaches who volunteered to coach me.”

Inspired by those who gave their time to him, Peter has been volunteering on and off since he was a teenager. As the chair of the board for the Iowa Soccer Association, a licensed referee, and a Des Moines Soccer Club coach, he racks up a lot of volunteer hours.

“One of the things I really like about volunteering is seeing all the kids from different backgrounds show up on the field,” he said. “Once they start playing the game, they’re all doing the same things and working together to accomplish the same goal.”

Reaching a goal for giving

With Peter’s volunteer work, he can help so many kids find their passion for soccer and learn how to be part of a team. But his giving does not end there. Through The Wellmark Foundation’s BluesCare GivingSM Program, Peter can record his volunteer hours and The Foundation will provide a monetary donation to his chosen nonprofit organization. Peter also appreciates the dollar-for-dollar matching gift, which helps him boost his donations to organizations like the Des Moines Soccer Club. The two BluesCare Giving options — personal volunteer time and matching gifts — let employees direct Foundation funding to nonprofit organizations they are passionate about. 

“What I really like about The Wellmark Foundation’s BluesCare Giving program is that it gives employees options on where to donate and volunteer and it enhances our personal contributions,”

Positive, inclusive and accessible

Peter volunteers because he believes in the mission of the Des Moines Soccer Club and works with them to provide a positive and accessible youth soccer experience. They strive to be a soccer program that serves the community.

The Des Moines Soccer Club has key partnerships with organizations like Des Moines Refugee Support that help immigrant students from Africa, Southeast Asia and Central America join a team.

“Some soccer clubs can cost upwards of $2,500 per year, not including travel,” he said. “By being accessible and affordable, the Des Moines Soccer Club helps to remove barriers for young people to play the game. It is really important to give kids the opportunity to participate. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and it should be inclusive and accessible to everyone.”

To find out if your nonprofit organization is eligible for the BluesCare Giving program, contact Send Email.