New fund is available

Area families may benefit from a new fund established by Grinnell residents Skip and Linda Lowe and
Nate and Karie Smith to “strengthen marriages and families.”
The STRONG Foundation, a program fund partner of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation,
provides financial support to individuals, couples, and families seeking marriage counseling by referral
from local pastors.

The STRONG Foundation grew out of a men’s ministry called Ox Strong started in 2015 by Lowe and
Smith to “strengthen men’s relationships with Christ . . . and to help them become better husbands,
fathers, sons, brothers, friends, and leaders in the community of Grinnell.” The Ox Strong group meets
monthly at Grinnell business Bernie Lowe and Associates, 615 Horseshoe Dr., and welcomes all men in
the community.

“Our mission statement is ‘Keeping Families Together,’ Smith said on behalf of the STRONG Foundation.

“We know the Foundation cannot save every marriage but that does not mean that we cannot make the
efforts to do so. We recognize that many put off seeking professional counsel because money is a
roadblock.”

The solution-based STRONG Foundation provides immediate financial resources for marriages seeking
professional counseling services. Pastors in the Grinnell Ministerial Association may make referrals to
certified counselors for those seeking counseling. If insurance is not available or out-of-pocket expenses
are required, the counselor in turn requests up to $500 of financial assistance from the Foundation for
the approved marriage counseling services. Confidentiality is maintained through an anonymous
numbering system so that no names are identified through the funding process.

“The STRONG Foundation recognizes the need in our community and is providing the financial means
and resources for struggling marriages to receive the necessary counsel,” Smith said. “We encourage
anyone interested in learning more about the STRONG counseling network to reach out to any of the
Grinnell pastors. “