Opportunities

Opportunities for the Community

One important way that Grinnell College contributes to the vitality of our local community is through financial support for local initiatives.

Community Investments

Micro-Grants

...Supporting Our Non-Profits Year Round

Grinnell is an active community driven by local non-profit organizations that plan programs and fundraising activities to bring their ideas to life.  Throughout the year, Grinnell College makes smaller-scale donations in support of these local organizations and projects.

Micro-Grant Guidelines

Types of Activities

Smaller donations and sponsorships that do not fit the criteria for one of our other programs (Community Mini-Grants, Volunteer Initiative Program, etc.) are addressed throughout the year. Community Enhancement & Engagement makes, on average, five to ten gifts per month  through this program. Examples of common donation and sponsorship opportunities include: 

  • Community Fundraising Events (dinners, auctions, dances, concerts, walks, runs, golf outings, bowling teams, etc.)
  • School Activities (proms, college fairs, etc.)
  • Bulk Ticket Purchase (theater tickets) 
  • Other Miscellaneous Donations

Types of Donations

  • Monetary Donations/Sponsorships
  • Bookstore Merchandise/Gift Certificate Donations
  • Dining and Catering Donations
  • Complimentary or Discounted Use of Grinnell College Accommodations (including Grinnell House, Ricker House, and dormitories)
  • Logo Items/Door Prizes

Priority is given to projects that have a significant impact on the local community, as well as those which demonstrate collaborative partnerships and/or involve challenge funding. Support traditionally focuses on, but is not limited to:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Community Outreach and Infrastructure
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Health and Wellness
  • Public Safety
  • Recreation
  • Social Needs

Exclusions 

Generally, the college does not sponsor or make gifts to:

  • Individuals
  • Business ventures
  • Non-governmental organizations without IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status
  • Organizations that limit membership or services based on race, religion, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, or national origin
  • Requests for loans or debt retirements
  • Civic/labor/fraternal groups
  • Political organizations
  • Projects or organizations with no connection to the community of Grinnell
  • Projects or organizations that might in any way pose a conflict with the mission, goals, or programs of Grinnell College
  • High School athletic programs are also excluded from sponsorships in accordance with NCAA guidelines.

To Request a Donation or Sponsorship

To request a donation or sponsorship, please complete and submit the Micro-Grant Donation and Sponsorship Request Form. If you choose not to use this form, please ensure that your request is in writing (paper or e-mail) and addresses the questions outlined on the form. Requests will be reviewed and processed within 30 days of receipt. Please allow adequate time for review before the event or project is scheduled to occur.

Monetary donations will be issued in the form of a check unless arrangements have been made for electronic transfers. To find out more about direct deposit, please contact Grinnell College Accounting.

Requests may be submitted electronically to Donnette Ellis, Administrative Support Assistant, (ellisdon[at]grinnell[dot]edu) or to:

Community Enhancement & Engagement Old Glove Factory 733 Broad Street Grinnell, IA 50112

Mini-Grants

...Catalyzing New Resources

Purpose

The Grinnell College Community Mini-Grant Program provides catalyst funding for small- to mid-scale off-campus projects to help Grinnell become a more attractive place to live, work, and study. Grants enhance the quality of life in our community by addressing issues of importance to the campus community and the community at large.   

Grant Guidelines

Support Areas

Support focuses on promising initiatives that 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. Preference will be given to proposals that (1) request matching or challenge funds, (2) demonstrate collaborative partnerships in the community, (3) stimulate campus/community connections, (4) are distinct among what already exists in Grinnell, (5) improve over what has been done in the past, and (6) show promise that the desired results will be achieved. 

Grant Amounts

The Grinnell College Mini-Grant Program supports requests ranging from $1,000-$7,500.  Smaller requests for support are considered throughout the year on a case-by-case basis.

Exclusions

Generally, the mini-grant program does not support the following:

  • Individuals
  • Business ventures
  • Non-governmental organizations without IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status
  • Organizations that limit membership or services based on race, religion, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, or national origin
  • Requests for loans or debt retirements
  • Operating expenses or endowment funds for organizations
  • Civic/labor/sorority/fraternal groups
  • Political organizations
  • High school athletic programs that, due to NCAA regulations, Grinnell College is prohibited from funding -- directly or through paid advertisements
  • Projects or organizations with no connection to the community of Grinnell
  • Projects that already have financial backing from Grinnell College
  • Projects or organizations that might in any way pose a conflict with the mission, goals, or programs of Grinnell College

Review Committee

Applications will be reviewed by the director of the Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement in conjunction with an advisory committee composed of faculty, staff, local Grinnell area students, and members of the broader Grinnell community.

Past Awards

To Apply

1.    Complete the 2015 Mini-Grant Application (fillable PDF)

To request a paper application, contact: Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement, Grinnell College, Old Glove Factory, 733 Broad Street, Grinnell, IA 50112, 641-269-3900

2.    Complete and sign your application.

Applications need not be submitted on the application form itself, but if typed separately, you must answer all application questions and should not exceed one page (front and back). In addition to the written application, applications must include a project budget (not to exceed one page).

3.    Return completed application to:

Mini-Grant Review Committee, Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement, Grinnell College, Old Glove Factory, 733 Broad Street, Grinnell, IA 50112

Application Timing

Applications must be received by January 30, 2015. Requests will be reviewed and awards announced by March 13, 2015.

Reporting

Each successful grantee is required to submit a short report on their project's outcome:

This report should be submitted by December 1, 2014.

For more information, please contact the Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement at (641)269-3900. Updated 12/11/2013

Major Investments and Donations

...Strategic Investments in Grinnell's Future

Grinnell College chooses to invest heavily in the local community -- both to contribute responsibly to important public resources and also to help the town be a strong asset in attracting students, faculty and staff.  Since the Community Enhancement program was formalized in 1999, Grinnell College has invested over $10 million in community development initiatives.

Focus Areas

Grinnell College's local investments support college and community strategic priorities, such as:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Public Infrastructure
  • Downtown Development
  • Historic Preservation/Adaptive Re-Use
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Economic Development

Considerations

Grinnell College's approach to giving is the philosophy that major contributions should be strategic investments in the community's health and vitality and that we should work in partnership with other community organizations.  When considering our participation, Grinnell College works with community leadership on a project-by-project basis and typically looks for:

  • Impact on the broader community
  • Impact on the college community
  • Degree of broader community support/partnership

Financial Approaches

Grinnell College employs a varied toolbox, customizing the financial approach to the project at hand.  Approaches we have used to date include:

Donations.  Cash or real estate donations to community capital improvements.  Past examples include:

  • Medical Center Improvements
  • High School Additions/Renovations (gym, auditorium and science wing)
  • Drake Community Library
  • Public Safety Building
  • Park and Trail Improvements

Investments.  Equity investments in local LLCs with community enhancement purposes.  Current examples of these "program-related investments" include:

  • Strand Theatre LLC
  • Greater Grinnell Development Inc.
  • West Broad Investors, LLC.

Campus Improvements with a Community Focus.  Improvements to college facilities specifically designed to address both campus and community needs, including:

  • Old Glove Factory.  Adaptive reuse of a historic manufacturing plant into college offices and community meeting space.
  • 8th Avenue.  Traffic calming, as well as service and streetscape improvements for a city street bisecting campus.
  • Pioneer Bookshop.  College bookstore annex on the downtown square.
  • Natatorium.  College aquatic center designed to accommodate both campus and community competitive swimming including youth and high school swim teams.

For more information about the college's major community investments, please feel free to contact the Office of Community Enahncement & Engagement.

Other Local Grants

Grant Resource Guide

PDF Grant Resource Guide:  Grant Resource Guide

This guide was compiled as a resource for local non-profit organizations in Grinnell. It contains information on grant-making foundations that are active (or potentially active) in the state of Iowa or the Grinnell region. The creation of this guide was undertaken as a joint initiative with the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation.

This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but reflects a handful of local partners.

Other Grants Available in the Grinnell Area

Grinnell College is proud to be one of many organizations that support community enhancement projects.  Other organizations that lend financial suppport to local initiatives include:

  • Poweshiek County Alliance.  Arts and Culture, Community Affairs/Development, Education, Environment Education & Protection, Health, Historic Preservation, Human Services.
  • Monsanto Fund.  Strengthening farming communities.
  • Claude W. & Dolly Ahrens Foundation.  The Foundation does not accept external requests, but selectively invests in projects that impact the Grinnell Community and its neighboring small communities, especially parks and recreation, education and health.
  • Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.  While the Grinnell Mutual Foundation supports large initiatives such as the Grinnell Mutual Family Aquatic Center and the Grinnell-Newburg Educational Excellence fund.  Grinnell Mutual Community Relations support smaller initiatives on a year-round basis.
  • Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation.  Through the support of local donors, provides selective grants to regional priorities including education, financial aid for students, public libraries, healthcare, arts & culture, public affairs/community development, social services, agriculture/natural resources.
  • Grinnell Area Arts Council.  Mini-grants for local artists and art projects.
  • Grinnell-Newburg Educational Excellence.  Academic mini-grants for Grinnell-Newburg initiatives.

Opportunities for Students, Faculty, and Staff

Grinnell College students, faculty, and staff make Grinnell and its surrounding area a better place through their dedication to volunteerism and community outreach. The office runs several programs designed to facilitate involvement and recognize individuals' local contributions.

Student Engagement

Apprenticeships in Nonprofit Management

Our office is pleased to announce that beginning in the fall of 2014, the Apprenticeships in Non-profit Management Program will move from Community Enhancement & Engagement to the Center for Careers, Life, and Service, and will be called the Service Learning Fellowship Program.  The program will operate under the auspices of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.
 
Applications for the 2014-2015 academic year are now being accepted, and more information about the program can be found on OrgSync.
 
Please note: applications are due Sunday, April 6th at midnight.

Volunteer Initiative Program (VIP) for Students

The Volunteer Initiative Program encourages students to volunteer in those projects that they feel most passionate about while allowing them to direct some of the College's contributions at the same time.

Raise money for a cause you care about!

Grinnell College created the Volunteer Initiative Program in 1999 as a way to formally recognize the important role that faculty and staff of the College play in supporting quality of life initiatives that enrich the local community. The College appreciates that students also play a role in the well-being of our community and wants to acknowledge their valuable work by expanding the Volunteer Initiative Program to include student volunteers. The program allows students to earn donations for non-profit organizations by contributing 15 hours of volunteer time per semester to an organization of their choosing.

Guidelines for $100 Recognition

  • Qualified Activity: Program participants must volunteer at least 15 hours over the course of one semester. All organizations will be required to verify student participation. Eligible hours must take place during the fall or spring academic semester. The deadline to apply for funding each semester will be 5:00 pm on the Friday of the last week of normal classes. The local community is not limited to Grinnell but includes the surrounding area, Des Moines and Iowa City.
  • Exclusions: Generally, the program does not support: Individuals; business ventures; organizations without IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status that are not governments; Grinnell College programs without 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status; high school athletic programs; organizations that limit membership and services based on race, religion, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age or national origin; requests for loans or debt retirements; civic/labor/sorority/fraternal groups; political organizations; and projects or organizations that might in any way pose a conflict with the mission, goals or programs of Grinnell College.
  • Funding Limits: Each student will be eligible to apply for one $100 donation per semester. No organization may receive more than $1,000 in total contributions through the Volunteer Initiative Program in a given fiscal year (July 1 - June 30). Funds are limited and will be released in the order in which qualified applications are received.

Submitting a Request

Applications are available by contacting the Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement at 269-3900 or by e-mail CommunityEnhance[at]grinnell[dot]edu.  Forms should be returned to:

Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement
Student Volunteer Initiative Program
Grinnell College Old Glove Factory
733 Broad Street
Grinnell, IA 50112

The deadline to apply for funding for the Fall 2014 semester will be Friday December 12, 2014 at 5 p.m.

The College reserves the right to deny funding to any and/or all requests. If an application is denied, the applicant may request a written explanation for the decision.

Other Opportunities

Too often, Grinnell students tell us that they wish they'd gotten off campus more often before their last year. A small community like Grinnell depends on the energy and vitality (and spending!) of students as well as year-round residents. Let us know if you have a great idea for encouraging students to explore the town. Some efforts supported by this office include:

  • Free access to the City Pool.  Students staying in Grinnell over the summer can show a current student ID for free admission to the Grinnell Mutual Family Aquatic Center.  More information about the pool is located at:  http://www.grinnelliowa.gov/index.aspx?nid=161
  • Discounted Admission to the Strand Theater (Excludes 3D Showings).  Students, faculty and staff can purchase discounted Strand Theater movie passes at the Spencer Grill, the downtown Pioneer Bookshop and the Bookstore on campus. For current movies and cinema information, visit:  http://fridleytheatres.com/grinnell.html
  • Buy Local Shopping Guide.  Together with the Chamber of Commerce, we've developed a list of "back-to-school" items that students can buy right here in Grinnell.  By shopping local, you help support our rural economy.
  • Drawings for Free Theater Tickets.  The college is a regular supporter of local school and Arts Council productions by purchasing groups of tickets which we make available to students, faculty and staff with drawings. The tickets always go fast, and students seem to enjoy the opportunity to get off campus.
  • Student Perspective Walking Tour of Downtown Grinnell. This brochure was used on Family Weekend 2013 to provide parents with a student perspective of downtown Grinnell: Student Perspective Walking Tour
  • Living Off-Campus: A Resource Guide for Grinnell College Students. This brochure will serve as a resource for all students who are considering Living off campus: A resource Guide for Grinnell College Students.

Faculty and Staff Engagement

Volunteer Initiative Program (VIP) For Employees

…Give With Time

The Volunteer Initiative Program was formalized in 1999 because Grinnell College understands that students, faculty and staff have a tremendous impact on the quality of life in our area through the time and energy that they invest in community activities.  For every employee who contributes 20 hours of volunteer time to a community organization, Grinnell College grants $100 to that organization of choice.  Encouraging employee volunteerism in the local community is consistent with the College's mission, values and commitment to the community. This program encourages employees to volunteer in those projects that they feel most passionate about while allowing them to direct some of the College's contributions at the same time.

Guidelines for $100 Recognition

Qualified Employees: Employees must be appointed to a regular or term (e.g., non-student) position at the College to be eligible to participate.

Qualified Activity: Program participants must contribute 20 hours of volunteer time to their organization of choice to receive financial support.  Sponsored organizations are required to verify employee participation.  The local community is not limited to Grinnell but includes the surrounding area, Des Moines and Iowa City. 

Exclusions: Generally, the program does not support: Individuals, business ventures, organizations without IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status that are not governments, organizations that limit membership and services based on race, religion, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age or national origin, requests for loans or debt retirements, civic/labor/sorority/fraternal groups, political organizations and projects or organizations that might in any way pose a conflict with the mission, goals or programs of Grinnell College.

Funding Limits: No organization may receive more than $1,000 in total contributions through this program in a given fiscal year. Each employee may designate $100 in donations twice per fiscal year. The College's fiscal year is July 1 - June 30.  Funds are limited and will be released in the order in which qualified applications are received.

Submitting a Request

Applications are available by contacting the Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement at 269-3900 or by e-mail CommunityEnhance[at]grinnell[dot]edu.  The completed application can be submitted to our office at the Old Glove Factory (733 Broad St.).  The College reserves the right to deny funding to any and/or all requests. If an application is denied, the applicant may request a written explanation for the decision.

Payroll Deduction Program

 ...Give With Money

Giving through Payroll Deduction is a great way to make a gift to the organizations that make a difference in Grinnell and our local communities.

One employee's experience

"I'm surprised more faculty and staff don't take advantage of payroll deductions for their contributions to local causes. At the end of each year, I determine how much I want to give to organizations and charities here in Grinnell, divide it by 12, and send in my payroll deduction form for monthly contributions. The College does the rest. I know my gifts are made regularly and I don't have to budget for them in a lump sum throughout the year. Try it! I think you'll like it. It's a win for everyone."

-- Lesley Wright, Director of Faulconer Gallery; Lecturer in Art.

Purpose

The Payroll Deduction Program was formalized in 2006 as a convenience to employees and a courtesy to local area charities. By spreading your donation over the course of a year, Payroll Deduction simplifies the giving process and makes it easier to budget for larger donations.

Timeframe

The Grinnell College Payroll Department will distribute your pledge over 12 months, beginning in January and ending in December.  Keeping on a one-year cycle makes it possible for Grinnell College Payroll to provide this service for our employees.  If you make a pledge after January, your pledge will be spread out over the remaining months of the year. If you would like to make a pledge for longer than 12 months, you will need to renew your pledge each calendar year.

Organizations Supported

To make this program manageable for our payroll department, this program directs funding to a limited number of local non-profits that do work in our local area. 

How to Authorize a Deduction Plan

1) Choose the organization(s) and fund(s) to which you would like to donate. Designate the amount of your contribution for each on the 2015 Pledge Form.

2) Carefully review and sign your pledge form (pages 9-11). 

3) Return your pledge form to the Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement.  The Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement will direct your pledge form to the receiving organization(s) and the Grinnell College payroll department. 

***DEADLINE:  To ensure that your pledge begins in January, please return your signed pledge form by December 19, 2014.  If you make a pledge after January, your pledge will be distributed over the remaining months of the year.

5) Watch your paycheck for the deductions to begin. Deductions will begin with the paycheck following the time when your pledge form is received. Again, if you have questions about how your pledge is being processed, copies of your paperwork will be available in the Office of Community Enhancement & Engagement.

6) Get your questions answered. Please direct your questions to:

  • General program questions: Community Enhancement & Engagement – phone:  269-3900 or email:  CommunityEnhance[at]grinnell[dot]edu
  • Details on the payments you've had deducted and scheduled for the future: Payroll Department
  • Details on prior year pledge amounts and receiving organizations: Community Enhancement & Engagement – phone:  269-3900 or email:  CommunityEnhance[at]grinnell[dot]edu
  • Details on funds received (payments are sent quarterly from Grinnell College to each organization): Payroll Department
  • How the organization is allocating your gift: The receiving organization

The 2015 Payroll Deduction Program Supported Organizations and Pledge Form can also be found in the Documents section on the Community Enhancement & Engagement web page.