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The Scarlet & Black

College awards mini-grants to community


Ronnie Ruse

Grinnell College recently awarded 12 mini-grants totaling 35,000 dollars to various organizations in the Grinnell area. The grants are awarded annually, with grant proposals submitted at the end of January and awarded in mid-March.

“The goal is to provide modest catalyst funding for small to mid-scale community projects designed to help Grinnell become a more attractive place to live, work, and study,” wrote Sarah Smith, Program Manager for Community Enhancement and Engagement at Grinnell College, in an email to the S&B. The money for the mini-grants comes from The Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement’s annual budget.

Mini-Grant GraphicOne example of a local group addressing community needs is Imagine Grinnell, a non-profit organization devoted to improving quality of life in Grinnell by promoting a healthy environment and fostering economic development efforts.

Imagine Grinnell plans to use its mini-grant to install three bicycle repair stations around town on the bicycle trails, according to Rich Dana, Executive Director.

“At Imagine Grinnell, one of our legacy projects has been the design and implementation of the bike trails in Grinnell. This is a way of enhancing the experience of both local people who are using the bike trails for recreation as well as people who might be coming in from out of town to use the trails,” Dana said.

“I think [the grant program] is a fantastic program. It’s a visible expression of the College’s commitment to improving the lives of the residents of the community,” he continued.

Grinnell-Newburg Education Excellence (GNEE), a school foundation which raises extra money for local schools, also benefited from the Grinnell College mini-grant.

Recently the GNEE has been working on a campaign to buy a grand piano for the Grinnell High School, which currently uses a grand piano on loan from the College.

“The auditorium was always meant to have a grand piano in it so the sound could fill the space,” said Judy Hunter, speaking for the GNEE. “But you know how things always run short when schools are involved … so we never got the piano.”

“We [GNEE] started a campaign to raise the money. And part of the campaign was applying to Grinnell College for the mini-grant.”

The mini-grant will go toward the purchase of a new Steinway piano to be used for music classes, concerts and musicals.

Hunter said that the mini-grant program, in addition to benefiting the community, also helps to improve relations between the town and the College.

“I think it is a neat thing because it lets different organizations in town make a connection with the College or vice versa … for the past, I would say, ten years, the amount of collaboration in town between various entities, including the College, has increased a lot, and part of that is the mini-grants,” she said.

A full breakdown of the mini-grants is as follows: — 5,000 dollars to Grinnell Newburg Educational Excellence toward the purchase of a grand piano for the Grinnell High School Auditorium to enable all students in the Grinnell Newburg School district to have the opportunity to hear the quality of music produced by a Steinway Grand Piano. — 2,000 dollars to the Grinnell Area Arts Council toward the purchase of an iPad to incorporate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) concepts and learning into the Arts Academy. — 5,000 dollars to the Grinnell Area Arts Council for the Grinnell Public Art Initiative and the vitality these pieces of art will bring to the community. — 1,335 dollars to Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool for professional development for the entire staff to increase the quality and programs offered at the daycare and preschool. —  2,500 dollars to the Grinnell Historical Museum for “Our Prairie Town,” a third grade social studies text which will help students gain understanding and appreciation of the history of their hometown. — 2,582 dollars to Grinnell Regional Medical Center towards the purchase of a Patient Care Simulator to enhance GRMC’s employee training and practice-care techniques prior to caring for patients. — 5,000 dollars to Grinnell-Newburg Community School District for the Grinnell Outdoor Adventure Program to offer students an opportunity to experience the outdoors while also developing leadership skills. — 2,000 dollars to Grinnell Little League for new softball equipment which will contribute to the safety and enjoyment of the children involved in the program. — 2,500 dollars to Imagine Grinnell for a bicycle repair station to assist cyclists who use the Grinnell Area Recreational Trail. — 2,000 dollars to Poweshiek County Fair Foundation for renovation of the kitchen at the fairgrounds to increase utilization of the fairgrounds through improved facilities. — 2,583 dollars to Poweshiek County Heritage Park toward construction of a sidewalk, ramp and porch at Heritage Park, which will enhance safety and accessibility. — 2,500 dollars to Grinnell Regional Medical Center–Grinnell Giving Gardens for improving access to fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruit to individuals experiencing low incomes or food scarcity.

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