September 29, 2021

Jennifer Cogley served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation (CDAF) for two years before accepting the newly created position, Director of Partner Programs, in June of this year. She is a graduate of the Poweshiek Leadership Program and now serves on the board. Prior to her role at CDAF 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.

CDAF President & CEO, Julie Gosselink said “Jennifer’s main goal will be to help coordinate resources between CDAF’s partner programs and other vital resources in the community. Having a dedicated staff member to support these programs and provide outreach for the community and those in need is crucial for the long-term sustainability and success of our programs. The needs are always changing and while working closely with our various advisory committees and other organizations, Jennifer will be able to help to identify those needs, address them and implement ways that our programs can work together to best tackle the issues at hand.”

When asked about her new role, Jennifer stated “I am most excited about the variety the position offers. I am working with a wide range of groups and it is very rewarding. Imagine Grinnell currently has a number of programming efforts in the community. They are replanting trees, have community composting efforts, a giving garden and gravel bike riding. SHE Counts is bringing Math Club to 3rd and 4th graders at Davis Elementary. The Grinnell Area Mental Health Consortium is tackling mental health needs and working to reduce the stigma associated with mental health treatment. Tiger Packs and the Grinnell Food Coalition are helping with food insecurity in our community. The other partner programs, Poweshiek Housing Assistance Fund, Giving Gardens, Vosburg Music Fund and Strong Foundation are also unique and doing great work in Grinnell. I love that each of these programs touch so many individuals in the greater Grinnell community. I hope that my position will help to expand opportunities for the partner programs and the community members we serve.”

“The partner programs will also benefit from a supportive and collaborative approach. I am available for the needs of the program and work to make the relationship strong and purposeful. My role will help the programs navigate a social media presence, provide another connection to the CDAF staff, help with planning for fundraising, and help with organization for each group’s
coordination of efforts at CDAF and in the community. I hope to become a liaison to other community services and share information between the foundation offices, community groups, schools, and more. Opening the lines of communication between the public and private organizations is important and beneficial to everyone and I hope to improve those lines.”

In 2006, CDAF started the Community Support Services (CSS) program in an effort to strengthen the missions, organizational capacity and efficiencies of local nonprofits through shared staff and office space, and administrative functions such as marketing, budgeting and gift processing. The CSS program allows partner organizations to share the costs and rewards of working together while paying service fees that are below market value.

In 2018, the foundation expanded its CSS program services to become an umbrella organization and financial manager to five partner programs and their funds. Since then, the number of partner programs has grown to include:

• Giving Gardens
• Grinnell Area Mental Health Consortium-JPK Fund
• Grinnell Food Coalition
• Imagine Grinnell
• Poweshiek Housing Assistance Fund
• STRONG Foundation
• Tiger Packs
• Vosburg Music Fund

Additional information about these CDAF partner program funds can be found at
October 1st kicked off the month long We Give fundraising campaign, and in keeping with their charitable strategies for strengthening the nonprofit sector, CDAF will be waiving all administration fees for their partner programs. The programs will receive 100% of the donations made to their fund during the We Give campaign.
“CDAF has invested a significant amount of resources, time and staff support dedicated to our program partners over the past few years,” said Julie Gosselink. “We recognize the struggles that so many have faced this past year and we felt it was important to ease the burden of overhead costs, even for our own partner programs so that more dollars can be put back into the community for individuals and families to benefit from.”

For more information about WE Give or to make a donation online, please visit The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation is 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.