June 20, 2016

Nominations are open for the 2016 “Leave It Better Than You Found It” award from the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. All Grinnell area nonprofit, social, civic, fraternal, and community groups making a difference in the local community are eligible to be nominated by the Aug. 1 deadline.

The 2016 “Leave It Better” winning organization will receive a $5,000 grant and become a recipient of the traveling trophy to be displayed by the organization throughout the year. Last year’s recipient of the award and traveling trophy was the Grinnell Area Arts Council.

Nomination forms may be downloaded here. Nominations should describe ways in which the organization is “leaving it better” through community projects and programs, collaborative efforts with other local groups, and/or through local fundraising efforts during the past year. All nominations will remain anonymous.

The 2016 recipient organization will be announced to coincide with the Aug. 18 birthday of the late benefactor Claude W. Ahrens.

The annual awards began in 1994, following a speech by Claude Ahrens at the National Recreation and Parks Association meeting where he said “…our obligation in life is to leave the world a better place than we found it.” Shortly after a group of Ahrens’ associates started the “Leave It Better” program to honor individuals and organizations for following Ahrens’ advice.

More than 300 individuals and community organizations have been honored since 1994 for their “leave it better” efforts. Previous winners include the Grinnell Area Arts Council, S.H.E.Counts, Poweshiek County Dental Coalition, PALS, Poweshiek County Mental Health Center, Imagine Grinnell, Grinnell Optimist Club, Stewart Library Children’s Department, Grinnell Lions Club, Galaxy Youth Center, Washington Merry Workers 4-H Club, Fairview Elementary PTO, Second Mile, Grinnell-Newburg Dollars for Scholars, and the Grinnell High School guidance counselors.