slide image of claude and dolly ahrens
slide image of ahrens park
Image of staff at daycare during the Founder's 100th birthday open house.
slide image of statue in front of ahrens family center
slide image of ahrens/paschall memorial park plaque.
Lend A Hand community meal participants
slide image of ahrens foundation offices
slide image of kids playing on playground at ahrens park
slide image of ahrens park soccer field
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Leaving It Better:

That’s the legacy that motivates us. That’s the mission that guides us.

The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation was established as a family foundation in 1993 by the late Claude W. Ahrens. Mr. Ahrens enjoyed a long, successful business career in the playground and agricultural manufacturing fields and desired to return some of the fruits of his labor, particularly to his native Grinnell, Iowa area, with specific support to his special interest in parks and recreation. Claude W. Ahrens has truly set a philanthropic example to all.

The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation continues its active commitment to improving the quality of life for our Grinnell community. We are dedicated to providing innovative charitable programs and support to local community projects and needs.

We are a unique and innovative family foundation striving to help meet the needs of the greater Grinnell community through ongoing support services and resources by maintaining and perpetuating an endowment. Our purpose is to provide improved and enhanced quality of life for present and future generations with interest in the areas of parks & recreation, education, and health with our collaborative partners.
To enhance the quality of life for future generations in the Grinnell community and its neighboring communities.
Collaboration, Compassion, Innovation, Integrity, Respect, and Wellness.

Latest News


July 1, 2017 Nominations are open for the 2017 “Leave It Better Than You Found It” awards from the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. All Grinnell area nonprofit, social, civic, fraternal, and community groups [...]


June 26, 2017 Grinnell ended 2016 with four giving gardens, and the 2017 gardening season has seen the addition of three more gardens, including one in Ahrens Park, as well as an increase in the [...]


October 13, 2016 The Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF) bestowed its four annual awards during an Oct. 8 event and added a new award to be given as appropriate. The event raised over $12,000 for [...]

Dolly’s Garden Permaculture Makeover

October 10, 2016 Photos show the transformation of Dolly's Garden at Ahrens Park during the October 8th fun-filled landscape design class hosted by Imagine Grinnell and the Ahrens Park Foundation. Three heirloom peach trees, a large strawberry patch, and several [...]

Celebrating 20 Years

CDAF Strategic Plan 2017-2019

Click to download the CDAF Strategic Plan 2017-2019