Service Awards and Prizes

Grinnell’s commitment to social justice and serving the common good is reflected in the college’s strong philosophy of student self-governance and personal responsibility, as well as in campus programs and initiatives that encourage students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the larger community to learn about civic issues and effect positive social change. Each year through various scholarships, fellowships, and awards the college recognizes individuals for outstanding commitment and innovation in serving the common good. Below are a few examples of such awards. 

(Additional information about how to apply for external service awards, scholarships, and fellowships may be found at

Boyer Community Service Fellowship

The Sarah Boyer '08 Community Service Fellowship is given to one or more currently-enrolled students each year to fund a community service project within the Grinnell community. The fellowship is designed to allow one or more students to conduct a project over the summer to serve the common good. There are no restrictions on the class year of applicants, and the purpose of the fellowship is defined broadly so as to encourage student creativity about how they can best use their particular skills, talents, and interests to serve their community. In 2013-14, the fellowship amount will be $3,300; fellowship recipients may be able to pay to live in college housing, but the fellowship is considered a taxable benefit if taken. Fellows will submit either a final narrative or presentation after their summer, reflecting on what worked well; the impact this summer had on them and their community; and what they learned, along with a final financial accounting of how the funds were spent. 

For more information see:

Community Engagement Award

The Community Engagement Award annually provides up to three $1,000 grants to students who wish to implement a community improvement and enhancement project. The award is co-sponsored by the Student Government Association’s Student Services Committee as well as the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Program and the Community Enhancement and Engagement Office. Strong campus-community partnerships are a vital component of this award. Applications must demonstrate strong collaborative working relationships between students and local community partners. All applications must be endorsed by both students and an appropriate community partner.

For more information see


Lori Ann Schwab Prize

The Lori Ann Schwab '95 Prize for Community Service is a $1500 award given annually by Grinnell College to recognize a senior student's service to the campus and local community during their time here. While there are no restrictions on the use of the award, the recipient will be strongly encouraged to donate at least $500 to an organization with which he or she volunteered while at Grinnell. The recipient is announced during the commencement weekend Baccalaureate program, and the recipient's name is added to a plaque on permanent display in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service.

The Lori Ann Schwab Memorial Fund recognizes the spirit and memory of Lori Ann Schwab '95 and her commitment to making the world a better place by helping others. Lori died from a tragic illness during a study-abroad program in London. Lori, whose home was in Berkeley, California, was an art major and especially active at the college’s pre-school and in women's advocacy.

For more information see:

Lori Ann Schwab '95 Alumni Grant

Lori Ann Schwab '95 was committed to making the world a better place by helping others, but her life was cut short by a sudden illness while she was studying in London in 1994. The Lori Ann Schwab '95 Alumni Grant recognizes the ongoing community service of Grinnellians who were at the college with Lori. The grant provides stipends to support specific projects or fulfill the needs of nonprofit service organizations or public schools in which these individuals are significantly involved. The number of grants awarded varies from year to year based on the financial performance of the fund and the number of applications deemed deserving. Each grant awarded is for a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $1,500. In 2013-14, the committee will allocate a maximum of $2,675 in support of Schwab Award projects. Applications for grants must demonstrate a tangible benefit to others. Stipends may be used to support original projects, to supplement existing projects or programs, or to fund professional development. Preference will be given to proposals that benefit children.

For more information see:


Wall Alumni Service Award

The Joseph F. Wall '41 Sesquicentennial Service Awards, established during Grinnell College's Sesquicentennial celebration in 1996, have created a legacy honoring the college's tradition of 150 years of social responsibility and public service. The awards are named in honor of the late professor of history who always inspired an ideal of social responsibility in his students.

The college typically gives awards of $25,000 to each of two graduates to carry out a service project that is of tangible benefit to others. Projects may be original or supplement existing projects or programs; they may address issues specific to local communities, regions, or of wider global concern; and may be carried out domestically or internationally. The application and selection process as well as descriptions of all past award winners are available below.

Any graduate of Grinnell College with a commitment to service for the benefit of others is eligible to apply for the awards. Project proposals should include a clear plan of implementation including a project budget. As possible, award winners return to campus after completion of their projects to share their experiences. The awards are a fitting and lasting tribute to the college's beloved Professor Joseph Wall and to our graduates’ dedication to community service.

For more information see:


Grinnell Prize

The Grinnell Prize — which annually presents winners with a prize of $100,000 — honors young innovators under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.

The program directly reflects Grinnell’s historic mission to educate men and women “who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.”

“The Grinnell Prize reflects our college’s longstanding commitment to educating men and women who will make a difference in the world,” said President Raynard S. Kington. “We have been impressed by the high quality of nominations that we’ve received in the first years of the prize, and our students benefit greatly from interacting with Grinnell Prize recipients in the classroom and in informal settings on campus. The Grinnell Prize honors those who ‘practice what we teach,’ and we are pleased to have this forum to recognize young people who are raising visibility and creating innovative solutions for some of the world’s most pressing issues.”

For more information about the prize and to see service opportunities provided by our winners see: