Proposals due for community outreach grant

This year’s proposals for grants from the Alan E. and Jeanne N. Hall Endowment for Community Outreach were submitted Friday.
The Hall Endowment grant started when Alan and Jeanne Hall donated $1 million to Weber State University to support community involvement. Every fall semester, students, faculty and staff can submit proposals for  community projects. Around 10 proposals are accepted and given money from the fund. About $35,000 to $40,000 is given out each year.
“The whole idea behind the grant is to bring campus and community together,” said Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski, Community Involvement Center director, “to have the knowledge, the talents, the skills of students, faculty and staff being utilized for the good of a greater community.”
The grant is used as a way to start off a project that addresses a need within the community. Every applicant must submit a preliminary proposal of their project by September 30, giving a short summary of what the project entails. A committee reviews the proposal and if it is accepted, then a longer one must be written which contains a full budget and a letter of support from the organization that the group is trying to help.

There are certain factors that make a proposal one that is likely to be accepted. “First, one that is really driven by a real community need,” said Kowalewski, “second, a project that involves multiple groups on campus.” Good projects are the ones that include more than just students, faculty or staff, but include two or all three of those.

“. . . we are telling students we want you to go out and be civically engaged and sometimes you can do that without a budget,” Kowalewski said, “but other times, in order for your civic engagement activity to really have the greatest impact, you need a little bit of financial support.”

The third thing that a project needs is to have collaboration with other entities, such as financial support from a non-profit organization or another group on campus.

One of the recipients from last year was Dianna Abel and Kristy Jones. Their project was to have 15-20 people trained in suicide prevention through a nationally recognized program called QPR. After being trained, these people would then go out and teach people in the community how to recognize the signs of a suicidal person.

“They teach them to know what to do if someone they know is suicidal,” said Abel, “to know the clues … and have the skills on how to respond.” QPR stands for question, persuade, and refer, the three things a person should do if they fear that someone they know may commit suicide: Question them about suicide, persuade them to get help and refer them to someone who can.

The project received $6,000 from the Hall Endowment and has trained about 600 people, 300 of them on Weber State campus.

The recipients of this year’s grant will be announced sometime around Thanksgiving. If there is still money left over to give away, the grant will be opened up again during spring semester and application will once again be accepted.