Nominations are open for the 2022 “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 2022 “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-Newburg Community School District. 

Nomination forms may be downloaded from the Ahrens Foundation website at www.ahrensfamilyfoundation.org, or received by email at info@ahrensfamilyfoundation.org.  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 2022 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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