Grinnell College’s Fall 2023 Mini-Grant Recipients


One of the ways Grinnell College  supports community projects within Grinnell is through the mini-grants program. Twice a year, Grinnell College awards mini-grants to impactful programs that are making a lasting difference in the Grinnell community. This year’s fall recipients look to improve the town of Grinnell’s education, parks, and fire safety.

Donnette Ellis, Grinnell College’s community relations and grant coordinator, facilitates the grant review process. Of this year’s recipients, she says, “On behalf of the community mini-grant review committee, we were excited to see the quality of applications submitted this fall. Whether new projects or ones we’ve paired with before, we are excited to see these projects develop.”

Monica Chavez-Silvia, vice president of the Grinnell Office of Community Partnerships, Planning, and Research, adds, “The Grinnell College mini-grant program is an excellent example of our College and community’s values. Grinnell is a small town, and it’s important for us all to contribute. Thank you to the volunteer committee made up of faculty, staff, local Grinnell Colleges students, and community members, who did an outstanding job working through the applications and making recommendations.”

Fall 2023 Mini-Grant Recipients

Ahrens Park Foundation — Dolly’s Dog Park is a project initiated by Grinnell High School students in partnership with Ahrens Park to create a new public dog park. The dog park will join existing facilities at Ahrens Park and provide a safe and playful space for community members and their pets.

Chad Nath, President and CEO of the Ahrens Family Foundation, says, “The new park will be accessible to people and pets through its proximity to sidewalks and existing park infrastructure. Further, the park is expected to help reduce pet waste within Grinnell. In addition to providing new opportunities for pets and their owners, Dolly’s Dog Park shows the creativity and passion of its high school organizers to ensure Grinnell is a pet-friendly town.” Grant amount: $5,000

Grinnell Community Early Learning Center — The Grinnell Community Early Learning Center is planning to hold a workshop to further educators’ knowledge and understanding of conscious discipline, a research-based educational practice focusing on teaching children important social and emotional skills. The workshop, featuring outside instructors, would expand on aspects of conscious discipline already adapted into the Community Early Learning Center’s curriculum and implement new education strategies and practices. The Community Early Learning Center is also further committed to spreading the knowledge gained at the workshop to other child care providers in the Poweshiek County area. Grant amount: $2,500

Grinnell Fire Auxiliary — In the Grinnell Volunteer Fire Department’s daily operations, the firefighters face many strenuous tasks in their mission to keep the Grinnell community safe. With this in mind, the Grinnell Fire Auxiliary requested a Roll-N-Rack hose management system. This system mechanically reels in the heavy hoses firefighters need to extinguish fires.

“Re-rolling hoses is not just a difficult job, but one that occurs at the end of an already tiring day of work or training. Once trained on the new system, Grinnell firefighters would have an efficient, safe, and time-saving method to help them roll the hoses of 500 to 1,200 feet that they normally utilize,” says Morgan Paul, Grinnell Fire Auxiliary president.

By purchasing this equipment, Grinnell Fire Auxiliary will ensure the safety and well-being of not just its firefighters, but also extend the benefits they receive to the whole town. Grant amount: $7,315

LINK Grinnell — Last year, Grinnell College’s mini-grant program enabled LINK Grinnell to expand its after-school and summer programming with a mobile kitchen and videography set-up that brought new learning opportunities for the students enrolled.

“This year, LINK Grinnell hopes to add new programming with a focus on music and the benefits it can bring to students. With the previous videography setup, students were already requesting to play personal instruments, but with this grant, LINK Grinnell can add new curriculum, electronics for education and music recording, and the equipment for large group rhythm and dance activities,” shares Ashley Risting, LINK executive director.

With this new equipment and a grant from Poweshiek County Alliance for instruments, the program can reach more than the already 170 students impacted, and share the joys of accessible, communal music. Grant amount: $4,884

Micro-Grant Program

In addition to the four mini-grants released this fall, Grinnell College also provided sponsorship for two different community initiatives through the micro-grant program. This program is intended for smaller requests, presented on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation — POWER Kids, or Positive Opportunities for Wellness Exercise and Reading, aims to inspire students to incorporate active lifestyle practices outside the classroom, and, by engaging students with these practices through rewards and prizes, encourage them to carry healthy habits into middle school, high school, and beyond.

Grinnell Elementary PTO — The Grinnell Elementary PTO looks to continue the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program at the Grinnell Elementary School, curated by librarian Allison Pease. RIF provides students with reading opportunities at school events and allows them to take home free books throughout the school year.

Spring 2024 Community Mini-Grant Applications

Grinnell College is now accepting applications for the spring cycle of community mini-grants. Grant applications are due by Friday, April 5, 2024, and the awards will be announced on Friday, May 17, 2024. A volunteer committee of faculty, staff, Grinnell College students, and community members will review the applications. Preference is given to proposals that leverage collaborative partnerships within the community. Grants typically range from $1,000 to $7,500. For more information or to download an application, visit Mini-Grants or contact the Office of Community Partnerships, Planning, and Research at 641-269-3900. If interested in serving on the review committee, please contact Donnette Ellis at 641-269-3900.

About Grinnell College Mini-Grants

Since 2002, the Grinnell College mini-grants program has awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $7,500, supporting local initiatives to enhance the quality of life in our community by addressing issues of importance to the campus and community at large. Grants are awarded 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 to identify and develop the community’s quality-of-life initiatives, the program also supports efforts that strengthen organizational capacity

About Grinnell College Micro Grants

Grinnell College micro-grant program supports local nonprofit organizations that plan programs and fundraising activities on a rolling basis throughout the year. Grants are awarded for smaller donations and sponsorships under $1,000. These donations could be monetary, gift certificates, or in-kind.