The Drake Neighborhood Association (DNA) was formed in 1979. Although many informal relationships have always existed between the University and the neighborhood, a formal relationship between the University and the DNA began in the former Director of Community Outreach & Relations, Dolph Pulliam, and Dean of Students, Donald V. Adams, tenures in the early 2000’s. The Director of Community Outreach & Relations attended the monthly DNA board meetings and served as the formal liaison to the University administration. A neighborhood pass for free entry to select athletic and fine arts events was created and is mailed to more than 16,000 Drake Neighborhood residents each year.
In 2008, The Drake Neighborhood was selected to participate in the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). The NRP uses a strategy that calls for neighborhood residents, the City of Des Moines, Polk County and local business leaders to develop a public/private partnership that addresses revitalization issues within the city. The finalized DNA plan can be found on the City of Des Moines Website.
The planning committee worked to devise goals and strategies that would benefit both the neighborhood and the University. As of 2012, the Drake University Student Senate has selected a member of the student body to serve as the Community Outreach Officer, one responsibility of which is to attend the DNA monthly meetings.
In 2014, the Community Action Board, a student run organization, was formed with the intention of further connecting Drake students to the local community. CAB Members formed a neighborhood relations committee in 2016 and launched a formal neighrobhood walking tour spring 2018.
As of January 2018, Drake Unviersity officially holds an elected position on the Association's board. John Smith, vice president for university advancement was elected to the board. Ryan Arnold, director of community engagement serves as the liaison between the Unviersity and DNA.