By Bill Studenc
Western Carolina University’s 1889 Impact Grant Program recently wrapped up its second year of providing donor-assisted financial support to campus projects, with initiatives ranging from nursing outreach clinics to efforts to help historically disadvantaged students succeed in the classroom and beyond.
The program was created in 2021 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. Eleven projects were selected to receive a total of $40,000 in 2022, the program’s first year of providing grants.
“More than $200,000 in grants were requested through 16 campuswide grant applications this year, and we were able to allocate $47,500 overall for nine awards,” said Jamie T. Raynor, vice chancellor for advancement. “That represents an increase in the total amount of inaugural grant funding we were able to award last year.”
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 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.
Members of the WCU Foundation Board of Directors executive committee review applications from across the university and select awardees in the fall of each year.
Projects supported by the program this year and amounts awarded are:
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. A total of 82 students received approximately $40,000 in scholarship support during the 2022-2023 academic year.
Applications for 1889 Club Impact Grants open annually in August and are 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 selected departments by Jan. 15 of the next year.