Nominations are open for the 2023 “Leave It Better Than
You Found It” awards from the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation.  All Grinnell area nonprofit, social, civic, fraternal, and community groups making a difference in the local community are eligible to be nominated by the August 1 deadline.  

The 2023 “Leave It Better” winning organization will
receive a $5,000 grant and become a recipient of the traveling trophy to be
displayed by the organization throughout the year. Last year’s recipient of the
award and traveling trophy was the Grinnell
Area Mental Health Consortium.

Nomination forms may be downloaded from the Ahrens
Foundation website at,
or received by email at  Nominations should describe ways in which the
organization is “leaving it better” through community projects and programs,
collaborative efforts with other local groups, and/or through local fundraising
efforts during the past year.  All
nominations will remain anonymous.  

The 2023 recipient organization will be announced to
coincide with the Aug. 18 birthday of the late benefactor Claude W. Ahrens. 

The annual awards began in 1994, following a speech by
Claude Ahrens at the National Recreation and Parks Association meeting where he
said “…our obligation in life is to leave the world a better place than we
found it.”  Shortly after a group of Ahrens’
associates started the “Leave It Better” program to honor individuals and
organizations for following Ahrens’ advice. 

More than 300 individuals and community organizations
have been honored since 1994 for their “leave it better” efforts.  Previous winners include the Fairview Elementary
PTO, Galaxy Youth Center, Grinnell Area Arts Council, Grinnell Connected, Grinnell
Education Partnership, Grinnell High School guidance counselors, Grinnell Lions
Club, Grinnell-Newburg Community School District, Grinnell-Newburg Dollars for
Scholars, Grinnell Optimist Club, Imagine Grinnell, LINK Grinnell, PALS, Poweshiek
County Dental Coalition, Poweshiek County Fair Foundation, Poweshiek County
Mental Health Center, Second Mile, S.H.E. COUNTS, Social Justice Action Group, Stewart
Library Children’s Department, and the Washington Merry Workers 4-H Club.

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