at 3:34 PM
It's National Volunteer Week! What a great time to recognize and say thank you to all those who volunteer their time to various events, activities and organizations to help make them and our community a better place to live, learn, work and play. We are grateful for all the volunteers at the Chamber, especially our Board of Directors who give of their time to help make ours a stronger organization.
Have you ever heard the phrase 'voluntold'? Did you know a great way to avoid being 'voluntold' to do something is to volunteer?! ;) We're so excited that volunteer opportunities are making a comeback as many opportunities were canceled over the past couple of years. A number of community organizations are looking to host programming or events in which volunteers are needed, and you can help! We hear from folks all the time who are looking to get more engaged, or involved with the community, and volunteering is a great place to start. You can find more opportunities for volunteerism HERE
We're looking to further build out the volunteer opportunities on our site so if you are a business or organization seeking volunteers, reply here and let us know about the opportunity to see if we may be able to help promote it!
at 3:35 PM
Earlier this week, members of our team of board and staff had the opportunity to attend the Iowa Rural Development Council's 6th Annual Rural Development Summit. We appreciate the ongoing support of member business Grinnell Mutual for their willingness to help make this possible, and were happy to spend some time with member business The Bill Menner Group who helped put on the event.
We spent the day with 350 colleagues and friends from across Iowa, all representing their own rural communities, who are rockin' rural. We came together to share information from one another about successes, challenges and opportunities. It was a great day of learning, spent brainstorming about future opportunities for our own community.
One of the keynote presentations featured a journalist who spent the last year traveling to rural communities across Iowa, and talking with their residents to learn what made them unique and successful. One of his primary conclusions: communities with residents and leaders who clearly and emphatically love their community are making amazing things happen, regardless of size. So I'm curious - and there's no right or wrong answer here - on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the most), how much do you love Grinnell?
at 11:44 AM
I'm sitting here today daydreaming about all the things I can't wait to do when this weather warms up! I mean, it has to warm up, right?! From heading to all the parks to riding bikes, experiencing the Grinnell Mutual Aquatic Center and even more trips to Dari Barn, my family loves warm weather (though my children were strangely excited to see it snowing again this morning)! It seems to me that as Grinnellians, and Iowans for that matter, we do a much better job of embracing warmer weather than cold, so I'm curious to hear from you. What are your favorite things to do as the weather warms? What do you wish you could do that perhaps isn't as feasible?
I'm genuinely interested to hear what you love, and what you wish we had. While not all ideas are likely to come to fruition, I enjoy hearing from community members to better formulate ideas, programs and efforts. Much of our work is spent connecting dots, pairing opportunities with people who express interest in making them happen and that is much easier to do when we have heard directly from residents and visitors alike!
at 11:44 AM
Earlier this week a young gentleman's name and face I hadn't seen in quite awhile appeared in my social scrolling.
About seven years ago, we devoted one of these weekly newsletters to philanthropy in youth and highlighted then-eleven-year-old Tony Neeley for the work he was doing to raise money for Food for the Hungry. In that newsletter, I said he would go on to do great things, and earlier this week I saw that he, along with a group of other GNSD students, was recognized at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Iowa conference. The group works to promote personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education.
That young philanthropist I first met seven years ago (pictured above as an eleven-year-old) took away some awards from the conference, along with his peers. What a cool thing to be able to watch the youth of our community go on to excel in fun and exciting ways. We are lucky to be able to engage in their journeys, and hope they know that Grinnell will always be rooting for them, and will always be home if and when they choose to return.
p.s. There are many ways to help support the youth in our community, including a couple fun new volunteer opportunities to assist with Mileage Club. Check them out HERE!
at 11:44 AM
Earlier this week we recognized International Women's Day, a day celebrated globally on March 8 to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women.
We have incredible women in our community. They are business owners, entrepreneurs, community leaders, mothers, healthcare workers, daughters, teachers, artists, childcare providers and so much more. They are strong and courageous. They are often unknowingly mentors to other women, and are an inspiration to many.
I attended a meeting earlier this week which was predominantly filled with women, and a male counterpart called particular attention to the women in the room for their leadership, passion and commitment. I instantly thought of all the amazing women I get the privilege to work with on a regular basis, and it reminded me of this quote: 'Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.'
So this week we salute the women in our community for their tireless contributions and efforts to make our collective community, country and world a better place!
at 11:41 AM
We kicked off our fourth annual Membership Month celebration this week! All month long we celebrate by recognizing our current members with shout-outs on social media, features in our newsletters and a general 'thank you' to each of them for being members of our organization.
Throughout the month, we will recognize members by grouping them together, recognizing some of them via random 'holidays' and others in random orders. It is likely a business will only be recognized on one day, and not necessarily all the categories they may fit into - it is our goal to recognize each of our current members by the time we reach March 31.
We could not do what we do without our members - quite frankly, they're the reason we are here. Membership in the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce allows our organization to best support our business community, and helps fund our entire scope of work. Our members contribute in a variety of ways, and offer their input throughout the year to help guide our programming and planning.
We continue to be in awe of our business community, and we are grateful for our members each and every day. It is fun for us to be able to recognize and highlight them throughout this membership month, and I hope you'll follow along HERE.
p.s. If your business isn't a current member and would like to join, simply send me an email or give us a call. If you aren't sure if your membership is current, give us a call - we would be happy to check on it for you!
at 11:40 AM
It's National Entrepreneur Week, and what better time to recognize our entrepreneurs for all that they do? An entrepreneur, by definition, is someone who takes on greater than normal financial risk in order to organize and operate a business. Entrepreneurs are passionate, hard working and visionary. Their vision becomes reality via commitment, enthusiasm and dedication.
Communities need entrepreneurs to survive and thrive. We are fortunate to have many entrepreneurs in our community, and we look forward to working with even more of you to help bring your dreams to life.
If you are considering a new business venture, reach out! We'd love to help you get your idea off center, and connect you with resources to help make it happen. If you are an active entrepreneur, thank you for taking risks which help make our community vibrant. We know you don't always hear it; thank you.
at 11:39 AM
I'm always quick to tell my children what I learn every day - even as adults there's usually at least one thing, right? One of my children is getting to the age where they feel they surely know everything, so I'm quick to remind them that learning is a lifelong experience and passion.
Last month, I was able to complete my Institute for Organization Management Certification. Of course, covid helped delay the completion of this four-year program, but I'm proud to say I was able to obtain the certification in January. The non-profit management program, organized by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is a professional development opportunity for chamber and association professionals to build stronger organizations, better serve our members, and become stronger business advocates.
I am grateful for a board and membership who believe in staff development and training. It is this type of commitment that allows our team stay up-to-date on trends in the industry, learn from experts and colleagues, and ultimately help improve our communities.
There's still much work to do, but I am thankful for the opportunity to utilize this program as part of my lifelong learning.
at 11:38 AM
We're in the deep freeze today and it has me dreaming about warmer weather. Perhaps a vacation or even just starting a countdown until spring - I'm choosing to be the eternal optimist about winter this year and rather than dwelling on how cold it is, I'm going to look ahead to spring. Could someone please remind me of this in about a week when I've decided I can't handle one more winter day?! ;)
Before we skip through the entire winter, I want to remind you that Valentine's Day is just 25 days away! If you celebrate the holiday, I hope you'll find ways to share the love locally. Typically January is a pretty tough month for our small business retailers and restaurants, so any extra support you can provide would go a long way!
Just this morning we posted a number of special deals you can find at our locally-owned businesses to give you a little inspiration. Why not pick up a bouquet of flowers, a boutique experience, a new book, a gift card for dinner, a bottle of wine and/or some wonderful dessert from any of our restaurants? There is much to offer for the loved ones in your life this February; get your orders in early so our businesses can plan and staff appropriately!
Thanks for loving local with your purchases over the next few weeks!
at 10:36 AM
I will be honest, I'm in disbelief that it is already November - I feel like we were just celebrating the Homecoming Parade yesterday - where did the entire month of October go?! At any rate, we are gearing up for all things holiday in our office (save the date for Jingle Bell Holiday, November 19!), and excited to be highlighting many of our small business retailers over the next several weeks.
Many small businesses were hit exceptionally hard over the past two years, while big box stores and the behemoth who shall not be named, gobbled up the market share of online sales. While Small Business Saturday is a great thing, this year we are asking our community to join us in celebrating Small Business Season -- a whole season of celebrating small, local retailers. Why settle for just one day, right?
Did you know that shopping locally keeps money right here in our own community? For every $100 spent locally, $68 is a direct return to our local economy, according to Fundera. If that's not enough, it's often our local businesses who are the ones contributing right back into the community in so many ways, too - by sponsoring the local sports teams, supporting local fundraisers and groups, purchasing ads from other local businesses, and so much more.
In a world where you can shop anywhere, please make an effort to shop Grinnell this small business season. And remember, when you support small businesses, you're supporting a dream!