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2014 “Leave It Better Than You Found It” Award to S.H.E. Counts

2014 “Leave It Better Than You Found It” Award to S.H.E. Counts


S.H.E. COUNTS, a fund to support and empower women and girls throughout Poweshiek County, is the 2014 recipient of the “Leave It Better Than You Found It” award from the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation (CDAF).

Formally launched in March through the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF), S.H.E. Counts formed an advisory board in 2013 to set objectives and a plan of action for the organization’s first year. Recently the group kicked off a county-wide survey to identify issues of importance to area women and girls. The group is also collaborating with local agencies to create and distribute a community resource guide, and expects to pilot a “Get to College” initiative for young women who may face barriers to continuing education.

S.H.E. Counts will receive a $5,000 grant and traveling trophy from CDAF as part of the foundation’s annual recognition of area groups making a difference.

CDAF President and CEO Julie Gosselink said that S.H.E. Counts was selected “because of the strides the group has accomplished in its first year. 

“It went from an idea, to a fund of GPCF, to an organization with a passionate advisory board, to raising additional funds, to hundreds of volunteer hours, to taking action on its mission,” Gosselink said.

“S.H.E. Counts helps to raise awareness about the need for positive change and to take action against barriers to social and economic security for area women and children. Their mission is perfectly aligned with the ideals of the ‘Leave It Better’ award, and we are pleased to recognize this county-wide effort on behalf of underserved women and children.”

S.H.E. Counts board member Melissa Strovers said that the “Leave It Better” award “will allow the organization to build on momentum already underway, helping to further the mission of supporting women and girls in our county.

“As a startup organization with high hopes for the future, we are thrilled to be recognized as a recipient of this award. It is a great honor, and we truly appreciate CDAF’s support.”

Those seeking more information or wishing to join the organization’s efforts may contact Delphina Baumann at GPCF, 641-236-5518, or S.H.E. Counts advisory board members: Jill Allen, Judy Arendt, Baumann, Rachel Bly, Nicole Brua-Behrens, Jennifer Cogley, Sue Drake, Laura Ferguson, Shannon Fitzgerald, Teri Hoffstetter, Denise Lamphier, Emily Moore, Aimee Reische, Strovers, and Ivy Van Ersvelde.

The traveling trophy will be displayed at the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, located at the foundation offices at Ahrens Park. GPCF also contributed to the program’s first year of outreach and support.

The “Leave It Better Than You Found It” award commemorates the Aug. 18 birthday of the late benefactor Claude W. Ahrens. In a 1993 speech to the National Recreation and Parks Association, Ahrens challenged those in attendance to follow the sage advice of his father John, “to leave the world a better place than you found it.” To date, more than 300 area individuals, groups and organizations have been honored by the annual program.

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