Community Investments

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

Donations and Sponsorships

...Supporting Our Nonprofits Year Round

Throughout the year, Grinnell College makes smaller-scale donations in support of local and regional nonprofit organizations that plan programs and fundraising activities.


...Supportive Resources

The Community Mini-Grant Program provides supportive funding for small- to mid-scale projects designed to enhance the quality of life in our community by addressing issues of importance to current and potential residents. 

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.

Racial Equity Fund

The Racial Equity Fund, established June 2020, funds anti-racism work in Grinnell by providing grants to community organizations actively advancing racial equity.

Other Local Grants

Grinnell College is proud to be one of many organizations that support community enhancement projects. Learn more about other grants available in the Grinnell area.

Grinnellians Helping Grinnellians

Grinnell College and Grinnell Mutual Group Foundation joined forces with other community groups to contribute over $100,000 to area resources addressing both immediate and post COVID–19 pandemic and the derecho storm needs in our local area.

In collaboration, several funds were quickly established to focus on food insecurities, area nonprofits, health care workers, inequities to internet access, among others.

#GRINNtogether banner
Grinnell College, Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, Total Choice Shipping and Printing collaborated on positive messaging at corner of Hwy 146 and 6th Ave, later moved to corner of 6th Ave and Broad St.

Emergency Relief Funds

A newly established fund for Grinnell’s small businesses who are recently vulnerable because of COVID–19. This local fund provides flexibility and adaptability to respond to needs that are not being met by existing nonprofit, local, state and federal programs. Managed by the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce. To learn more or apply to GSBR.

The Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund provides grant funding in the form of operations, programmatic, and equipment support for nonprofit and public entities who are negatively affected by the COVID–19 pandemic. Funded by the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, Grinnell College, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, and Grinnell United Way. Managed by the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation. To learn more or apply for NERF.

The Grinnell Food Coalition was formed to address pandemic–related food insecurity needs in the local community. Working along with MICA, a food voucher system was created so area residents can purchase food at local grocery stores as well as a resource guide listing local and state food assistance programs, mental health and wellness services, and financial stability resources. Coalition partners include the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Mid-Iowa Community Action, Imagine Grinnell, Local Foods Connection, Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, Grinnell College, Drake Community Library, Grinnell-Newburg Community School District, Tiger Packs, local churches, and individual community residents. To learn more about the food vouchers or resource guide.

Grinnell-area organizations collaborated to help promote face mask wearing in our community. As a supporting partner, Grinnell College joined Brownells, the City of Grinnell, Claude W. & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, Grinnell Mutual, Grinnell-Newburg School District, and UnityPoint Health-Grinnell Public Health to create a masking campaign. With help from Double You Marketing and Total Choice Shipping and Printing, face masks, posters, yard signs, and video were made available to area residents and businesses.

UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (UPH–GRMC) established this local crisis fund to help provide frontline workers including doctors, nurses, and countless other healthcare workers, with the necessary resources they need to meet the challenges of fighting the COVID–19 pandemic. This Health Care Heroes Crisis Fund is managed by UPH–GRMC Foundation.

Managed by the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, this online ordering platform will allow local restaurants and smaller businesses in the Grinnell community an opportunity to continue to connect with their customers. Similar to “Uber Eats,” a delivery component is expected to be incorporated as well. More information will be available in the near future. Check back here as more restaurants area added: Grinnell To Go.

To bridge the digital divide for families with school age children and no internet service in the home, GNSF established this fund to assist families who do not have access to home internet connection. GNSF has purchased WiFi hotspots for use by students without home access. GNSF is also exploring additional ways to get students connected and plans to purchase additional hotspots as funds allow. To learn more or apply for help with WiFi.

Due to the public health emergency, the Drake Community Library had to close its doors to the public. To continue to provide free internet access to so many in the community, funding provided equipment needed for extending the WiFi internet access, providing additional service on the west and southwest sides of the building. Visit Drake Community Library to learn more.

And There’s More!

Due to the COVID–19 ripple effect, new challenges continue to surface. Members of the Grinnell College community have also been able to support several other projects to help strengthen our community; from coordinating PPE donation efforts to offering childcare services and housing for frontline health care workers, to utilizing our downtown restaurants to provide meals for students on campus. 

Grinnell College was able to offer emergency housing to our community health care workers working the front lines of this COVID–19 pandemic. Offering alternative housing for active staff with possible exposure who have vulnerable people at home is a simple gesture to keep everyone safe. Email Community Enhancement to learn more.

LINK Grinnell began to provide emergency childcare for children of essential workers in early April. Grinnell College Daycare and Preschool and Grinnell College Harris Center were approved by the Department of Human Services to serve as satellite sites to provide care for children of essential workers, if needed. Each site will only allow a maximum of eight children in attendance at one time, ages 2-12. The service is provided at no cost to ease the burden on frontline and blue–collar workers as they perform their jobs under the added pressure applied by COVID–19.

Students, families, and alumni from China have donated PPE to Grinnell College and Poweshiek County agencies to help prevent and combat the COVID–19 virus. Two Grinnell College students from China, Zhenzhong “Jack” Xing ’23, president of the College’s Chinese Student Association and Xinya Yang ’20, a computer science major, initially set out on their own to collect donations from home. They were quickly joined by parent and alumni groups who had similar ambitions, along with College staff, who managed the coordination and logistics of local distribution. One parent said, “protecting the community goes hand in hand with protecting the kids.”

Read the full story in the Grinnell Herald Register’s April 20, 2020, edition.

Despite being closed to the public, Grinnell’s maker lab (MLab) has kept its machines running to support the Grinnell community and central Iowa through the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and PPE-making tools.

Maker labs are designed for problem solving. Recognizing the value of the equipment in the public health crisis, the College and arts council have supported two Grinnell College student MLab staff to continue working in the space. Fourth-year students Sage Kaplan-Goland ’20 and Bella Kugel ’20 have been putting the MLab’s tools and resources to good use making PPE and other supplies to donate.

Read the full article

Grinnell College continued meal plans for students still on campus and those living off-campus that subscribe to a meal plan. For the month of May, the College ordered from a different downtown restaurant several times a week. In addition to providing a financial boost to local restaurants in this time of need, it strengthened the College/community relationship, provided much needed down time for the College dining staff, and allowed a bit of variety in the menu to students.

Restaurants participating included:

  • Hometown Heroes
  • Pagliai’s Pizza
  • Frontier Cafe
  • Prairie Canary
  • Los Girasoles
  • Jimmy Johns
  • Pizza Ranch
  • Jay’s Deli
  • A & M Cafe
  • McNally’s
  • Grin City Bakery

What can you do?

  • Purchase a gift card from the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce to your favorite Grinnell businesses, including Grinnell Chamber Bucks, to use now or later.
  • If you can afford to splurge once in a while, place an order to go. Lots of local restaurants are offering carry out and local delivery.
  • Check out the new Grinnell To Go website for ordering from local restaurants. In its infancy but adding restaurants daily.
  • Total Choice Shipping and Printing is offering signage with a percentage of each purchase being donated to the fund noted below.
    • #GRINNtogether yard signs and decals (40% of purchase donated to the GSBR Fund)
    • Healthcare Heroes yard signs (40% of purchase donated to the Compassion Fund at UPH-GRMC)

If you’d like more information on how you can make a difference, email Community Partnerships, Planning, and Research and we’d be happy to help.

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.