Claude W. & Dolly Ahrens Foundation

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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. We also serve our community through our charitable programs: Community Support Services, Dolly Ahrens Scholarship, Leave It Better Award and Lend A Hand.

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The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation is also serving as an umbrella organization and financial manager for the following partner program funds:

* 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

To support the endowment funds of these partners, please visit the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation’s website in order to submit your online donation.

Giving Gardens

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The Giving Gardens is a collaborative effort by local organizations aiming to improve the health of Poweshiek County by providing free access to fresh, local produce. The gardens originally began with the Grinnell Regional Medical Center garden in 2013 as a means to provide access to healthy food options previously not available to Poweshiek County families.

During the growing season, the Giving Gardens depend on volunteers to maintain the gardens and harvest food. Harvested produce is then delivered to locations around the community where families and individuals can receive it. Area farmers and gardeners are also encouraged to donate excess produce to these locations. Families and individuals can also access the gardens directly to pick their own produce.

Giving Garden Locations

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Grinnell Area Mental Health Consortium-JPK Fund

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The purpose of this fund is to serve those in the Poweshiek County area with mental health needs who are financially otherwise unable to afford services or medications. Given the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, services for mental health needs in the local area are unprecedented. The goals of the fund are as follows:

  1. To help provide financial assistance and support to as many area residents as possible who need mental health support who would otherwise be unable to obtain it.
  2. The fund will reimburse providers by means of a voucher system providing services.
  3. The fund will help defray medication costs and/or assist in finding cheaper medicines or alternatives.
  4. The fund will support educational endeavors in the areas of mental health, as well as substance abuse.
  5. The fund will not be able to support in patient treatments at this time.

The goals of the consortium are as follows:

  1. To serve as the link or conduit between mental health providers and those who are financially unable to afford or obtain mental health and related services.
  2. To develop an organizational framework that can link providers to groups and organizations that identify those in need. (Schools, law enforcement, therapists, counselors, etc…)
  3. To intentionally work to grow the fund as to provide more and more services to those in need.
  4. To serve as a possible model for other communities struggling to make mental health care to all who need it.
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Grinnell Food Coalition

The Grinnell Food Coalition was formed in order to address food insecurity issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Its mission is to provide reliable local, state and national resources and guidance during these uncertain times.  In addition to resources this coalition is also providing grocery vouchers to local families and individuals in need. 

The Grinnell Food Coalition is supported and advised by Grinnell residents representing the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Grinnell College, MICA, Imagine Grinnell, Tiger Packs, Local Foods Connection, Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, Drake Community Library and our local churches and schools.

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Imagine Grinnell

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Imagine Grinnell is turning imagination into action by creating a more vibrant, sustainable and healthy community in Grinnell, Iowa. Since 1985, the organization has innovated and spearheaded a multitude of significant initiatives including the development and growth of the local Farmer’s Market, construction of a state-of-the-art skate park, overseeing incubator projects such as curbside compost pickup, hosting and directing a regional annual gravel bike ride event, maintenance of community gardens and many more impactful programs. Working to create healthier people and a healthier environment in the Grinnell community, Imagine Grinnell embraces community collaboration.

Imagine Grinnell and its partners are taking focus on a handful of projects and initiatives aimed at keeping the community vibrant, enhancing sustainability and creating an overall healthy environment for all.

Learn more about Imagine Grinnell

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Poweshiek Housing Assistance Fund

Poweshiek Housing Assistance Fund logo

The Poweshiek Housing Assistance Fund was established in 2020 by the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation after a local Housing Coalition was formed over growing concerns of homelessness in Poweshiek County. Due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on individuals and families, there is a desperate need to provide assistance to those who are on the verge of homelessness in Poweshiek County.

Criteria for individuals receiving funds located in Poweshiek County:

  1. Assistance for rental deposits or back rent
  2. Assistance for utility bills related to obtaining housing
  3. Assistance for mitigating damage to a rental unit
  4. Assistance to obtain legal documents in order to apply for other housing funding assistance in the county
  5. Assistance for other extenuating circumstances related to obtaining housing and will be determined on a case by case basis

Funds will not be paid directly to individuals receiving assistance but will be paid directly to reimburse landlords and/or other entities for utility or document fees.

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P.O.W.E.R. KIDS, a new partner program of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, aims to empower students in elementary school to make healthy choices inside and outside the classroom. Students will be exposed to a variety of activities for learning about healthy snacks, forming positive habits and other wellness opportunities.

Conversations began in the spring of 2022 with the Grinnell Education Partnership (GEP) about the previously named Healthy Readers program which has been a part of GEP since 2015 and run through AmeriCorps leaders. During the pandemic, as schools closed and visitors were limited, the Healthy Readers program efforts were reduced. Moving into the 2022-2023 school year, GEP was looking for help with sustainability of the program and CDAF excitedly stepped up to form a new partner program called P.O.W.E.R. Kids. The program mission aligns directly with the mission of CDAF – working to improve the quality of life of current and future generations of Grinnellians through parks and recreation, health, and education. Helping students achieve the overarching goals of increased wellness through healthy choices and activities is the desire of the P.O.W.E.R. Kids program. Looking ahead to the school year some of the planned activities are:

  • Farmers Market for Davis Elementary 3rd and 4th graders. Introducing unique ways to find healthy snacks and food, sharing positive mental health, and learning about local foods.
  • Poweshiek County Extension Bike Smoothie experience for 2nd graders. Combining exercise and healthy snacks is a rewarding activity and one that can be shared into adulthood.
  • Kindergarten and 1st graders will have the opportunity to listen to a story and taste test a healthy snack.
  • Future programming to include, mindfulness, yoga, healthy screen time habits, and more!
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The mission of S.H.E. COUNTS is to support, help, and empower women and girls in Poweshiek County.

S.H.E. COUNTS is headed by a diverse group of women within the county who are committed to helping move women and girls towards self-reliance. Your donation will help to support under-funded programs and efforts.

Specific Goals of S.H.E. COUNTS includes:
1.  Annually support a local graduating female senior with a scholarship for post-secondary education
2.  Annually support and promote awareness for International Women’s Day on March 8th
3.  Support 3rd and 4th grade girls with after school educational math programming
4.  Provide financial educational opportunities for women in our county
5.  Host high school luncheons for future first generation girls attending college

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Strong Foundation

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The STRONG Foundation is a solution based program that provides immediate financial resources into marriages needing professional and confidential guidance.

A healthy marriage is the foundation of our society. With divorce rates at an all time high, our churches, families, schools, and communities are overwhelmed and the impact on these institutions cannot be measured. STRONG Foundation was developed to provide immediate counseling resources to couples desiring to keep their marriages together.

The program is simple: A pastor of one of the Grinnell area churches identifies the need to refer a married person or couple to a STRONG Network marriage counselor.


  • Immediate Assistance for Marriages
  • Strengthens Marriages
  • Strengthens Families
  • Strengthens Churches
  • Strengthens Communities
  • Available Certified Counseling Resources
  • No Prequalification for Financial Assistance
  • Professional and Confidential
  • Available to One or Both Spouses
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Tiger Packs

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Tiger Packs is an initiative to combat hunger in the Grinnell-Newburg School District. Eligible K-8 students receive a weekly bag of kid-friendly, nutritious food to take home on the weekends while the high school students have access to a food pantry with a variety of healthy snacks and takeaway meals.

Tiger Packs was established in 2013 as a pilot program at Bailey Park Elementary with just 12 students, and the program has expanded to serve over 200 students from five area schools. Our numbers continue to grow as registration forms are now included with school enrollment materials. Any student who receives free or reduced lunch is automatically eligible, but students who have been identified as food insecure by school personnel may also participate. There is a clear indication of community need for this program as the percentage of students in the Grinnell – Newburg school district receiving free and reduced lunch has increased from 30.6% during the 2007-08 school year to approximately 37% in the current academic year.

Tiger Packs touches a variety of community issues, particularly the link between nutrition, education, and poverty. Children who do not get enough healthy food to eat have greater difficulty concentrating in school, which leads to decreased performance. Tiger Packs is an important program because it not only combats a direct need with a short-term solution (feeding hungry children), but also works to address a fundamental cause of poverty: children who are not focused on their hunger will be better able to concentrate on their learning, and will be more likely to perform well in school, continue their education, and break the cycle of poverty.

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Vosburg Music Fund

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Bill Vosburg with TubaDue to the generosity of an anonymous donor, a fund has been created to help support kids in the local Grinnell area with music funding assistance who are unable to afford music lessons, instruments and other items or therapy services associated with learning music.

The Vosburg Music Fund has been established in memory of the late Bill Vosburg who passed away in 2018. Bill was five years old when his family moved from Gilman, IA to Grinnell in 1955. Bill attended Grinnell schools and graduated in 1968. Music was a big part of his education as he played the tuba in band and sang in the choirs throughout his high school years. He attended Iowa State University where he participated in the ISU marching band. Upon graduating in 1971, he enlisted in the US Navy and served for four years during the Viet Nam war. After returning home, he worked in the family owned retail building materials business. He was committed to the Grinnell community and served as a founding board member of Grinnell 2000. He would also later serve as president of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce and the United Way board. Bill continued to play his tuba, entertaining at community events. He was a member of two Dixieland bands, the Grinnell College Symphonic Band, and also played every year with the Grinnell Community Band. In 1989, he collaborated with Dr. J.R. Paulson to design and build the Central Park gazebo, which became the bandstand for Community Band performances for nearly 20 years. He was invited to join the Iowa Military Veterans Band, which gives six to seven performances per year throughout Iowa, ending with a concert at the Des Moines Civic Center celebrating Veterans Day.

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