By Bill Studenc
Western Carolina University’s Division of Advancement has issued a call for applications from faculty and staff interested in obtaining funding for projects through the third annual 1889 Impact Grants Program.
The application process will open Tuesday, Aug. 15, and close Friday, Sept. 29. A total of $45,000 is available for projects for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Launched in 2021, the grant program is designed to provide a consistent source of funding for colleges and other units at WCU in support of initiatives that enhance the engagement of alumni and community stakeholders to the philanthropic activities of the university.
Funding for the program comes from annual contributions to the Fund for WCU, including leadership gifts from members of the 1889 Club, which recognizes donors for gifts made on an annual basis to the Fund for WCU. The club, among four giving societies established by the Division of Advancement to celebrate the impact of philanthropy on the institution, is named in honor of the year of WCU’s founding.
All applications should be submitted using the online form. Grant requests should be vetted and approved by the appropriate dean or division head to make sure that it is aligned with priorities.
Members of the WCU Foundation Board of Directors comprise a committee that will review applications. Grant recipients will be notified by Wednesday, Nov. 1, and all awarded funds should be utilized by the end of the spring 2024 semester. Award recipients are expected to provide a report summarizing the impact of their projects in June 2024.
“We welcome faculty and staff to seek grants in any amount, regardless of the amount allocated for award this year, because that will give us a better understanding of the full scope of needs, assist us in annual unrestricted fundraising goals and allow us in the Division of Advancement to tell the full story of giving opportunities to our constituents,” said Jamie T. Raynor, vice chancellor for advancement.
Over its first two years, the program funded projects ranging from a service-learning initiative in which marching band students filled 4,000 bags with potatoes for food pantries and a Hunter Library initiative sharing historical photographs with communities across the region to a trip to Argentina providing international learning experiences for students who completed the Academic Success Program to professional development support for athletics coaches.
In addition to the 1889 Impact Grants Program, the Fund for WCU provides first-year access scholarships to new incoming freshmen and supports ongoing donor stewardship efforts.