The Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with the Claude W. & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation and the Grinnell United Way in an effort to communicate organizational information and options to individuals wishing to make financial contributions in the wake of the August 10 derecho.
The entire Grinnell community was hit hard by the recent derecho, with much of the power to the community being restored just this week. While initial clean-up efforts have been very effective and the community is looking much better, we know there will be a number of needs for businesses and individuals following the natural disaster. Working with other community partners, the goal is to help communicate information about organizations and funds that already exist to support community needs as opposed to creating yet another community fund.
“We have seen so much good from our local Grinnell community over the past ten days - people helping people,” says Rachael Kinnick, President & CEO of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce. “We also know there are many Grinnellians at heart who are not able to be here physically to help recover from the derecho and we want to give them the opportunity to help support these efforts.”
Should individuals feel compelled to give financial resources, we encourage them to start with, and further explore, these agencies:
Grinnell Food Coalition. The Grinnell Food Coalition was formed to address food insecurity issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and now will expand to help meet the same needs caused by the derecho. Its mission is to provide reliable resources and guidance during these uncertain times and provides food vouchers to individuals and families in need. Vouchers are redeemable at area grocery stores and the Grinnell Farmers Market. Gifts may be made online at https://ahrensfamilyfoundation.org/donate-online/ (select Grinnell Food Coaltion) or via mail to PO Box 284, Grinnell Iowa 50112.
Grinnell Small Business Relief Fund. Formed in a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this fund is housed with the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce and provides financial support to small businesses in Grinnell. The fund will aid small businesses who may have been financially impacted by the derecho as well. Donations may be made online at /en/business_resources/grinnell_small_business_relief/ or via mail to PO Box 538, Grinnell Iowa 50112.
Grinnell United Way. Supports multiple agencies, many of whom have already seen an uptick in workload and traffic due to the derecho. Agencies supported by Grinnell United Way are able to support individuals directly and monies received now through September 10 will be funneled directly to these agencies to aid in disaster support. Gifts made after that date will go towards the Grinnell United Way’s annual campaign which is set to kick-off on September 15. Online donations may be made at grinnellunitedway.org or via mail at PO Box 121, Grinnell Iowa 50112.
JPK Grinnell Area Mental Health Consortium. The purpose of this fund is to serve those in the Grinnell area with mental health needs who are financially otherwise unable to afford services or medications. The fund was established to reimburse providers, help defray medication costs, and to establish and support educational endeavors in the areas of mental health and substance abuse. Online donations may be made at https://ahrensfamilyfoundation.org/donate-online/ or via mail to PO Box 284, Grinnell Iowa 50112.
Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund (NERF). In the wake of COVID-19 and the recent Derecho, local organizations including Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Grinnell College, United Way, Grinnell Mutual and Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation have established the Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund as a way to support local nonprofit organizations in Poweshiek County negatively affected in 2020. Online donations may be submitted at https://greaterpcf.org/online-donations/ or may be mailed to PO Box 344, Grinnell Iowa 50112.
Poweshiek Housing Assistance. The Poweshiek Housing Assistance Fund was established in 2020 by the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation after a Housing Coalition was formed in 2019 over growing concerns of homelessness in Poweshiek County. Funds designated here will help support newly found housing challenges due to the derecho and may be used to help cover rent assistance, utility assistance and assistance to mitigate damage to housing. Online donations may be made at https://ahrensfamilyfoundation.org/donate-online/ (select Poweshiek Housing Assistance Fund) or via mail to PO Box 284, Grinnell Iowa 50112
Please note that there are many organizations doing great work in the Grinnell community, and this is by no means an exhaustive list; however, we hope that this list will help reach the organizations and efforts that are most likely to be impacted post-derecho and/or have the most flexibility within the organizations to get dollars to the highest need individuals and businesses.
“Our office has fielded phone calls from all over the country in the past few days with people wanting to help support Grinnell’s derecho recovery efforts,” said Julie Gosselink, President & CEO of the Claude & Dolly Ahrens Foundation. “We hope that by providing online donation links to many organizations who are stepping in to help provide additional aid during these challenging times will yield financial support from those outside our community as well.”