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Community Enhancement and Engagement

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College to Buy Grinnell Golf and Country Club

Grinnell Golf and Country Club membership voted in a special meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9, in favor of the College's purchase of the Club. The vote was 107-1. The Club's Board also unanimously approved the sale.

Club representatives approached the College about a possible sale late last summer. Under the terms of the College's 2001 investment in the Club, it has first right of refusal on any proposed sale. After meeting with the Club representatives, the College began exploring its options and conducting preliminary due diligence. A purchase agreement was completed in January, and agreement on terms was reached shortly thereafter.

The purchase includes the grounds, buildings, and equipment. The College intends to operate the Club as a public golf course. The swimming pool is also planned as a public facility, pending assessment of its condition and necessary repairs. All existing contracts for use of the facilities will be honored. The College will pay taxes on the property to the City of Grinnell.

As transition plans take shape, the College will update Club membership accordingly.

According to Kate Walker, vice president for finance and treasurer for the College, the purchase of 56 acres directly adjacent to campus is a win-win for the College and the community.

“It preserves a treasured community resource whose history is deeply tied to the College's,” Walker says. “Founded by College faculty in 1899, the Club's sale in some ways brings things full circle. The College sees this sale as an opportunity to continue to operate the Club as a value-add for the community. Furthermore, acquiring the Club protects the College and the community against the risk of purchase and loss of this prime property to another party.”

The goal, Walker adds, is to complete the transaction in time to open the course for the 2016 season.

Community Mini-Grant Deadline Jan. 29

Grinnell College is accepting applications for Community Mini-Grants through Friday, Jan. 29.

The Community Mini-Grant Program provides catalyst funding for small- to mid-scale projects to help Grinnell become a more attractive place to live, work, and play.

Mini-grants — which range from $1,000 to $7,500 — focus on arts and culture, recreational, and educational initiatives, including those benefitting the social needs of the community, as well as projects that address human needs that enhance the safety, beauty and economic vitality of the local area.

Since 2002, the Community Mini-Grant Program has directed more than $313,000 towards 145 community initiatives.  

Applications for 2016 must be received in the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement by the Jan. 29 deadline. Additional application information is available from the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement, (641) 269-3900.

Mini-Grant applications will be reviewed by an advisory committee of College faculty and staff, along with Grinnell College students from the local area and community representatives. Awardees will be notified by March 11.

Requests for support less than the mini-grant minimum of $1,000 are considered throughout the year on a case-by-case basis.


$1,792 donation to high school library

Local shoppers raised $1,792 for the Grinnell High School library by making purchases at Grinnell College's Pioneer Bookshop in December 2015, an increase of $86 over the amount raised for the library the previous year.

"It was evident that our December shoppers were happy to see a direct connection to the benefit of shopping locally, knowing that 10 percent of what they spent would help the GHS library," said Cassie Wherry, manager of the Pioneer Bookshop and College Bookstore.  

The Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement supports the donation through its Partners in Education program. The Grinnell High School library receives half of the funds in the form of a check and the other half in a Pioneer Bookshop gift card. 

"Every year the GHS library benefits so much from the Partners in Education donation, and we are so grateful for all of the books it provides for our library," said GHS librarian Chelsey Kolpin. "Students have already been requesting books that will be purchased with this money, so use of the funds will begin right away." 

Kolpin said the donation will help expand the library's collection, including biographies and autobiographies, as well as books featuring projects students can create in the library's makerspace area.

Located in the historic downtown Grinnell at 823 Fourth Ave., the Pioneer Bookshop has books for all ages and interests, featuring children’s books and current best sellers. The staff specializes in recommending books for gifts and can quickly special order books not in stock. The Pioneer Bookshop also carries a special selection of toys as well as local team sportswear, stationery, and cards.

Wanted: Applicants for new part-time positions with AmeriCorps

New Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership team members will start in late January.

In response to community input, the Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership is offering four new part-time positions. Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016.

"Since we launched our AmeriCorps member recruitment efforts earlier this fall, we have received positive feedback from community members who have expressed interest in serving as AmeriCorps team members," said Monica Chavez-Silva, assistant vice president of community enhancement and engagement.

"Many of these community members are interested in part-time options, so we have changed some full-time positions to part-time positions to better align with community interest and needs. We are now seeking four part-time members who will start in late January. Details will be available later this spring about additional summer positions to support summer learning."

Applicants for part-time positions should be interested in education and community, have demonstrated an ability to bring people together in order to get something done, and interact well with people, especially youth, from diverse backgrounds. Before beginning their service term, the four part-time AmeriCorps members will go through training to learn about the program's mission, priorities and individual member obligations.

AmeriCorps members will serve at community host-sites to support the advancement of community education priorities in the areas of school attendance and readiness, family and community engagement, and volunteer resources. The successful applicants will receive an AmeriCorps living allowance and an AmeriCorps education award (upon successful completion of service).

Individuals selected for the four part-time positions will serve at the following host sites:

  • Fairview Elementary School — One part-time member will address school attendance while the other will focus on students' readiness for school as part of the Voluntary Preschool Program
  • Grinnell Chamber of Commerce — One part-time member will concentrate on family and community engagement
  • Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation — One part-time member will work on volunteer Infrastructure

The application packet includes detailed service descriptions, benefits, qualifications and the application form.

Completed applications, which are due Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, can be emailed or mailed to Community Enhancement and Engagement at 733 Broad St., Grinnell, Iowa 50112.

For more information about the Grinnell AmeriCorps Member Service positions, email Community Enhancement and Engagement or call 641-269-3900.

Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership announces local host sites

The Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership today announced the host sites participating in community-wide capacity building and addressing specific Grinnell-area education priorities.  

Numerous community organizations applied to become host sites for the service members being selected to advance Grinnell's Campaign for Grade Level Reading and support the local Graduate Skills Gap initiative. Service members will be assigned to the various sites.   

The Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership is a community-wide effort to advance Grinnell's Campaign for Grade Level Reading and support the Graduate Skills Gap initiative in Grinnell, Iowa. Focusing on these initiatives, AmeriCorps members will be placed in local community organizations to support work in each of the five key focus areas of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading: 

  • Prevention of summer learning loss, 

  • Prevention of chronic absence from school, 

  • Making sure youngsters are ready for school, 

  • Making sure students are healthy and read to learn, and 

  • Encouraging parent and family engagement. 

In addition, AmeriCorps members will provide core "backbone" infrastructure, such as community and volunteer engagement to advance early childhood literacy and assist with the community's Graduate Skills Gap pilot programming. 

The host sites and the projects they will focus on are: 

  • Drake Community Library — Summer learning 

  • Fairview Elementary School — School attendance and school readiness at the Voluntary Preschool Program  

  • Grinnell Regional Medical Center — Healthy readers 

  • Poweshiek Iowa Development working with Grinnell Mutual — Graduate Skills Gap initiative 

  • Grinnell Chamber of Commerce — Family and community engagement 

  • Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation — Volunteer infrastructure 

  • Grinnell Area Arts Council working with Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool and Galaxy Youth Program — After-school enrichment 

"We are thrilled with the host sites and are excited about the community support for the program," said Monica Chavez-Silva, assistant vice president of community enhancement and engagement at Grinnell College. "We are pleased to report that the program is moving full steam ahead with the filling of several of the positions, and we are looking forward to getting those members on board by the end of November." 

For the remaining unfilled positions, a plan is underway to convert those positions to part-time opportunities, based on feedback that this would make it easier for more people to participate. Details about the revised positions will be made available in the coming weeks, once the official plan has been submitted and approved by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, the granting agency.  

For more information about the part-time positions, please contact the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement, (641) 269-3900. 


Wanted: Applicants for Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership Positions

The Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership is accepting applications for 14 service member positions during the 2015-16 service year through Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. AmeriCorps service members will begin serving their terms on October 30, 2015.

The program provides community service positions for individuals interested in addressing specific Grinnell-area education priorities, such as:

  • Advancing Grinnell’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading (by helping all Grinnell students to read at grade level by third grade);
  • Reducing the Graduate Skills Gap (by preparing high-school graduates with skills needed for employment); and 
  • Supporting existing after-school programs (by adding enrichment resources).

"Service members should have an interest in education and community, and have demonstrated an ability to interact well with people from various backgrounds (especially youth)," said Melissa Strovers, program and communications manager in Grinnell College's Community Enhancement and Engagement Office. "Before beginning their service term, team members will go through training to learn about the program's mission, priorities, and individual member obligations."

Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership seeks 11 full-time and 3 quarter-time members for up to 12 months of service. To apply, one must be at least 17 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and successfully complete a criminal history background check.

AmeriCorps members will serve at one of several Grinnell AmeriCorps host sites. Full-time members will complete a minimum of 1,700 service hours during their term of service and quarter-time members will complete a minimum of 450 service hours to successfully complete their terms of service. Service members receive a living allowance, student loan forbearance and, for those who qualify, health coverage and childcare assistance.

Following successful completion of their term, members are eligible for an education award that may be used to repay existing qualified student loans or pay the cost of tuition or books. This award is redeemable up to seven years after their service year.

Applying for the Positions

Grinnell College students can apply for the quarter-time positions listed through PioneerLink.

Other applicants should complete the application packet, which includes detailed service descriptions, benefits, qualifications, and the application form.

Applications are due Sept. 18, 2015, to Community Enhancement & Engagement, 733 Broad Street, Grinnell, Iowa, 50112.

For more information about the Grinnell AmeriCorps Member Service positions, contact Community Enhancement & Engagement, 641-269-3900.