In the first year of the program, the CSS program served 6 partners; Ahrens Park Foundation, Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, Grinnell-Newburg Dollars or Scholars, Grinnell-Newburg Educational Excellence, GHS Alumni Association, and the Grinnell High School Capital Campaign. For the first four years of the program, all services were provided to our partners free of charge. Today the program serves over 20 partner organizations and 100 charitable funds. In addition, we have provided consulting services for Grinnell College, Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool, St. Francis Manor Foundation, Galaxy Youth Center and Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell.
Today’s economic climate has changed little in that nonprofits can no longer conduct business as they once did. Resource constraints are forcing many nonprofits to close their doors or merge operations in order to survive. More than ever, nonprofit organizations are in need of creative collaborative solutions to help them overcome financially challenging times. For this reason the CSS program continues to be one of two main priorities of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation’s charitable strategies for the community. We believe in our unique approach to providing greater quality of life in the community by strengthening the nonprofit sector. The CSS program allows our partner organizations to share the costs and the rewards of working together by paying fees that are below market value.
In 2010, the foundation was selected by the Council on Foundations, in Washington D.C., to receive their national Critical Impact Award, which honors grant makers who have supported innovative leadership, bold visions, and significant impact in advancing the common good through effective grant making, which can serve as a model for others in philanthropy. The Council on Foundations, formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grant making foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include approximately 2,000 independent,operating, community, public, and company-sponsored foundations and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The assets of Council members total more than $307 billion. The Council’s mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.