Board of Directors of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation
Pictured from left to right are: Julie Gosselink, Chad Ahrens, Susan Witt, Shannon Fitzgerald, and David Clay.
Julie Gosselink – Julie is the president, CEO, and chair of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation and currently serves on the Ahrens Park Foundation, LINK, Poweshiek Housing Assistance, and S.H.E. Counts. Julie also serves as a trustee of Grinnell College. She holds a M.A. in philanthropy and nonprofit development and B.A. in geography from the University of Northern Iowa. Julie has worked for the Foundation since 2001 and has served on many local task forces, committees and initiatives including the Galaxy Youth Center, Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, Grinnell Education Partnership Summer Learning, Grinnell Regional Medical Center Foundation, Grinnell Sports Authority, Iowa Council of Foundations, and Mayflower Community Foundation. In addition, Julie co-chaired the Drake Community Library capital campaign fundraising committee and served as a selection committee member for the Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize. Julie also serves as a managing partner for the Strand Theater, LLC and West Broad Investors, LLC. Julie is co-author of Nonprofit Collaboration in Grinnell: A Case Study.
Susan Witt – Susan serves as a board member for both the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation and Ahrens Park Foundation. Susan also serves as a board of director for the Mayflower Foundation, the Grinnell Regional Medical Center Foundation and has served for many other local organizations including chair of the Grinnell Regional Medical Center board of trustees. Susan is co-owner of Miraco Company and the owner of a local farm.
Chad Ahrens – Chad serves as a board of director for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation and has served as a board of director for the Ahrens Park Foundation and Ahrens Foundation Corporation for many years. Chad is the owner and operator of several local farms.
Shannon Fitzgerald – Shannon is the CFO and controller for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. In addition, she serves as the treasurer/secretary of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation and the Ahrens Park Foundation and as a board member of LINK, Grinnell Area Mental Health Consortium and Tiger Packs. Shannon has also served as a board of director for the Galaxy Youth Center and the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation. Shannon is a certified public accountant and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in business administration with an emphasis in communications and human resources. Shannon has worked for the foundation since 2005 with prior work experience in both the public and private accounting industries. In addition to her position with the foundation, Shannon owns and operates her own CPA practice.
David Clay – David serves as a director of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation and oversees the foundation’s management of investments. In addition, he has served as a director of the Ahrens Park Foundation. David joined Grinnell College in 1986 and was treasurer, chief financial officer and/or chief investment officer from 1990 through 2013. He continues to serve as an advisor to the College’s investment function.
Staff of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation
Melissa Hull – Melissa is the director of community relations for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. Melissa is a graduate of the Poweshiek Leadership program and has served as a board of director for the Grinnell Youth Baseball/Softball Association. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in communications. Melissa has worked for the foundation since 2006 with prior work experience in the sales and customer service industries.
Vanessa Doty – Vanessa is the coordinator of organizational systems for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. Vanessa has worked for the foundation since 2011. Vanessa graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Transportation & Logistics and Marketing, previously working for Cargill. Vanessa has volunteered her time with various community organizations and projects in the Grinnell area and had been an active leader for the Grinnell school’s PTO organizations for many years. She is currently serving on the Grinnell Booster Club.
Jennifer Cogley – Jennifer is the director of partner programs for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. She is a graduate of the Poweshiek Leadership Program and now serves on the board. Jennifer served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Ahrens Foundation for two years before beginning in June of 2021. Prior to her role at the Ahrens Foundation she worked and volunteered at the Grinnell United Methodist Church and volunteered with the Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary and the Iowa Hospital Association Auxiliary. Jennifer holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing and attended William Jewell College.
Michelle Gruhn – Michelle is the accounting manager for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. Michelle has an A.A. in accounting from Marshalltown Community College. She has prior work experience in bookkeeping, office management, and worked for the Grinnell-Newburg School District in various capacities and the Ahrens Park Foundation for twelve years. Michelle began working for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation in 2010 and is a graduate of the Poweshiek Leadership program. Michelle is co-owner of Gruhn Brothers Farm in Kellogg.
Karie Smith – Karie is the administrative assistant for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. Karie has an A.A. in secretarial science and has prior work experience in office management, most recently working for the Grinnell-Newburg School District in various roles. Karie is an active long time member of the Grinnell community and is excited to work with the Foundation and its partners.