Eleven projects ranging from student research into post-partum depression in partnership with the Mountain Area Health Education Center to improvements of a Cherokee plant garden at Highlands Biological Station are underway at Western Carolina University, thanks to support from the recently launched 1889 Impact Grants Program.
The program was created last year by the Division of Advancement 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 contributions by 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. The 1889 Club encompasses those who make annual gifts in amounts ranging from $18.89 for current students and $188.90 for alumni who have graduated within the last decade to $1,889 for alumni who graduated more than 10 years ago.
A committee composed of members of the WCU Foundation Board of Directors reviewed applications from across the university, selecting 11 projects to receive a total of $40,000 in funding as part of the 1889 Impact Grants Program’s inaugural year, said Ben Pendry, assistant vice chancellor for development.
“We are quite pleased with the number and quality of projects seeking support through the 1889 Impact Grants Program,” Pendry said. “While we could not provide funding for all the applicants, we encourage our campus partners to apply again next year, and we are looking forward to seeing the outcomes of this year’s efforts.”
Projects supported by the program are:
“Each year, members of the 1889 Club will receive a report demonstrating the impact of their philanthropy on the university,” Pendry said. “We believe strongly in the ability of this program to touch all areas of the university. Our goal, now that we have the infrastructure in place, is to grow the membership in the 1889 Club so that we can fund more requests.”
In addition to the 1889 Impact Grants Program, the Fund for WCU provides first-year access scholarships to new incoming freshmen and supports ongoing stewardship efforts such as thank-you events, printing and mailing of donor materials, and video messaging.
Applications for 1889 Club Impact Grants will open annually in August and will be reviewed by the WCU Foundation Board at its October meeting. Recipients will be notified of their awards in November and funds will be transferred to the department by Jan. 15 of the next year.
For more information including how to join, visit https://www.wcu.edu/engage/give-to-wcu/giving-societies/1889-club.aspx.