Grinnell College awards $38,639 in grants to local initiatives


Grants support local projects enhancing the quality of life in Grinnell

GRINNELL, Iowa – In June, community grants were awarded to local initiatives, totaling $38,639. Grants support local initiatives to enhance the quality of life in our community by addressing issues of importance to the campus and community at large.

Sarah Fischer, Grinnell College director of admissions and committee member for the Mini-Grant Program, shared, “It is inspirational the wide array of grant requests that come through the Grinnell College Community Grant program, ranging from projects that address food insecurity, to beautifying our public spaces, to addressing community health and public safety issues. While we always wish we could fund every project that comes our way, I am so grateful that we are able to provide funding for a select few projects that will truly help our community become an even better place to live.”

The grant recipients are: 

Drake Community Library

Drake Community Library received $7500 for an upgraded audio system in the Caulkins Community Room. The upgraded system will add functionality and the ability to send sound system output directly to devices for recording or streaming events from the space. The goal is to have all the upgrades complete by August 31, 2022 as the Community Education Council plans to restart in person courses in their “Bucket Class” series in September at the library. 

The Drake Community Library and Iowa Kitchen 

Read It/ See It/ Make It/ Eat It: Storytime Art in the Park with Iowa Kitchen received $5260 through the Mellon Foundation. In June and July, Grinnell College Museum of Art and Drake Community Library will partner with the Iowa Kitchen project to help address food security as part of their summer learning programs. The Community Mini-Grant program also contributed $1120 for this summer program to cover food costs.

Storytime Art in the Park is a summer learning program provided by Drake Community Library (DCL) and Grinnell College Museum of Art (GCMoA). This program brings eight weeks of free arts and literacy programs to children in parks and locations throughout the Grinnell community. The program has a 15-year history and serves between 20 – 80 children per session. An important goal of Storytime Art in the Park is to support underserved children.

Grinnell-Newburg Community School District and LINK Grinnell

Grinnell-Newburg Community School District and LINK Grinnell received $7500 for two refrigerators to help combat food insecurity. The refrigerators will be used for the Tiger Pack program in Grinnell, Summer SLICK morning snacks, LINK after school and summer snacks, and milk that is distributed to families in need each week at the elementary level.  In addition, there are creative uses on the horizon for these refrigerators that could help us serve our community most effectively. One of those projects would incorporate donations to the community through the Community Giving Gardens that are on site at Davis Elementary.

Grinnell Community Early Learning Center

Grinnell Community Early Learning Center received $2824 to be used for professional staff development courses. The project, “Professional Development for GCELC Leaders” is to fund professional development conference registration fees for staff in the areas of nature play, diversity in social-emotional learning and childcare advocacy. With the increased education in nature play, diversity and social-emotional learning staff will gain new ideas, skills and concepts that are brought back to the center to implement with children.

Grinnell Historical Museum

Grinnell Historical Museum received $1124 for the Textile Preservation Project. Clothing and textiles are subject to deterioration from light, temperature, humidity, pests and pollutants. The funds will be used to purchase archival supplies to protect all the textiles in the museum’s collection.

Grinnell Volunteer Fire Association

Grinnell Volunteer Fire Association received $3400 for twenty new firefighter helmets. The new helmets are built to a higher standard including a higher heat and crush rating. They also offer eye protection for the firefighters that is easier and quicker to deploy. 

Poweshiek Animal League Shelter (PALS)

Poweshiek Animal League Shelter (PALS) received $2900 to upgrade the laundry facility. Adding a secondary washier and dryer will double their capacity to launder leaving more time for staff and volunteers to spend time on enrichment activities with the animals in their care. 

Poweshiek County Emergency Management

Poweshiek County Emergency Management Agency received $2511 for an AKC Pet Reunite Program-Pet Sheltering Trailer. This program from the AKC began in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina left many pets stranded in their homes and abandoned by their owners left to survive on their own due to human shelters not accepting pets with evacuees and the lack of pet shelter resources in the area. Partnering with the AKC and the local Central Iowa Kennel Club to bring this program to life will be a first for Poweshiek County and the first in Iowa!

Engaged Communities in Conversation

The department of Theater and Dance received $4500 from the Mellon Foundation for “Engaged Communities in Conversation” to present a topic of universal interest that is designed to be informational and to invite people into a meaningful and thoughtful conversation. Participants will learn about something they may not have thought about before and will have questions and observations to share.

About the Mellon Foundation
The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at

About Grinnell College Community Mini Grants
Mini-grants are awarded twice annually to organizations working to enhance the social and economic vitality of our community, including cultural, recreational and educational projects, those addressing human needs and those enhancing the safety and beauty of our surroundings. Recognizing that local organizations are critical in identifying and developing this community’s quality-of-life initiatives, the program also supports efforts that strengthen organizational capacity.

Learn more about the Office of Community Partnerships, Planning, and Research  

The Office of Community Partnerships, Planning, and Research works toward the common good by serving as a collaborative thought partner with college and community change-makers. Bringing different skills and expertise to the table, staff consults on research, planning, and partnerships with those working to improve the lives of all Grinnellians. Since 2015, the office formerly known as the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement, has served as co-convener of the Grinnell Education Partnership by facilitating alignment towards common goals and coordinating action across groups and organizations. Follow our Community Connections Facebook Page for news and events.  

About Grinnell College

Grinnell College, a private liberal arts college in Iowa founded in 1846, provides individually advised learning for intellectually engaged students to produce graduates who are prepared to navigate the world’s complexities and responsibly contribute to the common good. Grinnell enrolls 1,700 students from around the world, who earn bachelor’s degrees in a range of disciplines across the humanities, arts and sciences. Grinnell’s rigorous academic program and campus life emphasize excellence in education through free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas, a diverse community and social responsibility and action. More information about Grinnell College is available at


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