Eleven local projects and initiatives will benefit from $34,000 in grant support this year from the Grinnell College Mini-Grant Program.

The mini-grant program is just one of the ways that Grinnell College’s Community Enhancement and Engagement office strengthens community resources and educational opportunities, as well as enhances the safety, beauty and economic vitality of Grinnell. The office also fosters community partnerships, and supports student and employee engagement in off-campus activities. The mini-grants have played an especially important role.

While the program has existed for more than a decade, new this year is the Dr. Kevin Sterk ’91 Award, which provided up to $1,500 to fund a community-based initiative that will benefit both Grinnell College and Grinnell High School students. The Award honors Kevin Sterk, a Grinnell native who attended both institutions. This year’s award has been granted to a Parks and Recreations Department initiative to purchase new playground equipment in James Miller Park. In addition to the $1,500 provided by the Sterk Award, the Mini-Grant Program will contribute $5,740 to fully fund the project.

“We are very happy with the decision to give the new award to the Parks Department project,” Glenn and Ginger Sterk, Kevin’s parents, stated. “We hope the equipment will help transform James Miller Park into a space shared and enjoyed by college and high school students, as well as the community as a whole.”

In addition to the James Miller Park project, the following initiatives received mini-grant funding for 2014:

  • Drake Community Library for safety equipment (a defibrillator) for community events ($1,000)
  • Galaxy, Inc. to pilot a Story to Screen literacy education project ($1,910)
  • Genesis Development to increase the accessibility of their facilities ($4,000)
  • Grinnell Area Arts Council for emergency preparedness equipment ($2,667)
  • Grinnell Community Daycare & Preschool for an expansion of their art and music curriculum ($4,000)
  • Grinnell High School for marching band uniforms ($2,500)
  • Imagine Grinnell for free energy audits and weatherization of low-income homes ($1,000)
  • Iowa Transportation Museum for chairs and tables to upgrade seating and event capacity for multi-generational audiences ($2,500)
  • Poweshiek Animal League Shelter for a heating system upgrade ($5,000)
  • Poweshiek County Pioneer Cemetery Commission for a historic cemetery restoration project ($2,500)

“The wide variety of this year’s mini-grant projects attests to the vitality of the community and energy that people dedicate to its improvement,” said Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community enhancement and engagement at Grinnell College. “We are glad to be part of such an innovative community that cares about maintaining a strong quality of life.”

For more information about the mini-grant program, contact Melissa Strovers, (641) 269-4583. Additional information about the college’s community contributions is available at http://www.grinnell.edu/about/offices-services/community-enhancement/opportunities.

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