Claude W. Ahrens biography cover

Memoir by Grinnell, IA author, Judith W. Hunter, tells the colorful story of the late Claude W. Ahrens, founder of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. “Grinnell’s Entrepreneurial and Philanthropic Pioneer: A Biography of Claude W. Ahrens” is a 165-page book edited by Julie Gosselink, president and CEO of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation. This is the first published work of the Foundation. Copies of the memoir are for sale for $9.95 at the Ahrens Foundation offices in Grinnell, Iowa.

“Americans value success: they applaud people who control events, succeed in business, and make lots of money. By this definition of success, Claude Wesley Ahrens achieved it. He was a successful salesman, invented and patented many products, owned and operated companies, and made a lot of money. But perhaps his greatest success occurred at the end of his life when he established a legacy for his family and community that will benefit people for many generations to come…

Claude Wesley Ahrens did indeed leave it better than he found it. And for that, all people living in Grinnell can be grateful…

The story of Claude is refracted through many lenses: through his own embellished stories, through many people’s interactions with him, through their gratitude, through their resentments. Using those shiny and distracting lenses, I arrive at one way of telling Claude Ahrens’s story.” – Judith W. Hunter

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lady of the house cookbook cover

This publication from the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation honors “The Lady of the House,” the late Dolly Ahrens. The Foundation released this cookbook in October, 2013, filled with recipes from the highly regarded Grinnell hostess and cook and tested by Foundation staff and family members.

Sales of the cookbook, a labor of love for Ahrens family and staff members, will support Grinnell Regional Medical Center, the Dolly AhrensScholarship program of the Foundation, and S.H.E. Counts a fund with the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation. “The 300 recipes in the cookbook were sorted from more than 500 index cards in my grandmother’s handwriting,” said Julie Gosselink, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Many of the recipes were influenced by her English background and my grandfather’s German heritage. As with any good cook, she also improvised so ingredients were often switched and measurements tweaked to put her personal touch on them.”

A 1971 Des Moines Sunday Register article about Dolly Ahrens’ hospitality called “the lady of the house . . . casual about company,” that often ranged from holiday dinners for extended Ahrens family members to large sales gatherings for Miracle Playground Equipment which Claude led.

Published as part of the Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration, the cookbook is available for sale for $9.95 at the Ahrens Foundation offices at 1510 Penrose in Grinnell, Iowa.

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css program book cover large image

Nonprofit Collaboration in Grinnell: A Case Study” is written by Grinnell authors, Julie Gosselink and Judith Hunter. Their book describes the highly successful Community Support Services (CSS) program of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation (CDAF) that provides administrative services and back-office support to 25 local non-profit partner organizations.

“The book is intended to educate the public about how the CSS program evolved, the growing pains we experienced, and the solutions and collaborations that developed along the way,” Gosselink said. Interviews with several local partner organizations are included in the book. The national Council on Foundations recognized CDAF in 2010 for innovative leadership, bold vision and significant impact in creating the CSS program, which now serves as a model for other community and family foundations.

This book is available for sale for $9.95 at the Ahrens Foundation offices at 1510 Penrose in Grinnell, Iowa.

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