Women’s Giving Circle Awards Record Amount of Funding; Reaches Milestone

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Women’s Giving Circle reached a milestone of $1 million given back to the University of Arkansas campus when it awarded $142,086.25 to 11 University of Arkansas programs at its annual voting event on Friday, Oct. 23. Thanks to a $50,000 match incentive donation from the chancellor’s office, the amount awarded is the largest the organization has ever given back to the U of A campus in a single funding cycle.

“It was an absolute pleasure to carry on the office of the chancellor’s tradition of making a gift to this incredible organization,” said interim chancellor Dan Ferritor. “It is vital that we continue to invest in the types of programs and research that received funding today. Some of the university’s best ideas start from within, and the Women’s Giving Circle does an exceptional job of identifying worthy projects that deserve a financial boost.”

The Women’s Giving Circle is made up of U of A alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university and was created to encourage women as philanthropic leaders. The circle raises funds in part by requiring annual cash gifts from its members. The annual gift requirement is $1,000 for alumnae or friends and $500 for recent graduates, students, faculty and staff.

This year’s grant recipients were chosen from 48 proposals, with 10 finalists selected through an online vote. Women’s Giving Circle members heard presentations from the finalists as part of today’s voting event, and then chose the winning programs. Because of the record funding amount available, the circle also voted to donate $25,000 to the Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Campus Food Pantry. The amounts of the remaining 10 grants given out this year ranged from $2,000 to $38,500.

The proposals that received funding this year include:

  • The Arkansas Teacher Corps Fellows, a collaborative partnership among the U of A, school districts and local community organizations that aims to provide high quality teachers in the areas of greatest need throughout Arkansas. The program received $38,500 and was represented by Benton Brown from the College of Education and Health Professions.
  • Narasimhan Rajaram, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering, who received $22,000 for developing an optical imaging approach for accurately identifying tumors that will not respond to treatment within the first week of therapy.
  • Tameka Bailey, a visiting assistant professor of biological sciences in Fulbright College, and her project, Development of Scientists from Underrepresented Groups in Gould and Dumas, Arkansas. A grant of $11,990 will be used to further the work Bailey did with a 2014 grant and provide on-campus laboratory research experience to 11 female junior high school students.
  • The Volunteer Action Center Literacy Program: Parent Literacy Night Pilot, which received $11,845 to host two parent literacy nights to expose families to literacy resources and equip them to facilitate literacy comprehension inside the home. Charity Walker represented the program on behalf of Student Affairs and the Center for Community Engagement.
  • The Dream B.I.G. Program’s “Brave Girl” Initiative, which will build upon the successful program’s student-led mentoring at its annual spring break camp. The program received $10,728.25 and was represented by Charity Walker from Student Affairs and the Center for Community Engagement.
  • The Delta Professional Development Project, which works with high school students in the Arkansas Delta to develop professional skills for job interviews, career goals and college applications. The proposal received $7,432 and was represented by Molly Jensen from the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
  • Sustain Rape Aggression Defense Course, which will address the need for self-defense training for women by providing new equipment for the University of Arkansas Police Department’s instructors and students. The course received $7,236 and was represented by Gabriel Golden from the UAPD.
  • $tart $mart Salary Negotiation for Women, which was represented by Mary Alice Serafini from Student Affairs. A $3,150 grant will create a workshop that focuses on the gender wage gap, teaching personal budgeting, compensation benchmarking and skills for negotiating salary and benefits.
  • Laundry & Literacy, which seeks to encourage literacy experiences for low-income families while they visit local laundromats. Vicki Collet received $2,205 for the proposal and represented the College of Education and Health Professions.
  • The University of Arkansas Women’s Chorus, which received $2,000 for the opportunity to perform with world renowned Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo and attend a workshop with the composer. The chorus was represented by Stephen Caldwell from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Mark Power, associate vice chancellor for university development, and Martha Haguewood, president for the Women’s Giving Circle, presented checks to the grant recipients.

“I have always been proud to be a member of the Women’s Giving Circle but even more so today,” said Haguewood. “Giving $1 million back to the University of Arkansas is an incredible milestone, and I’d like to thank our fantastic members and university administration for making it happen. We are celebrating today, because the essence of this organization is giving – and what it gives back to the campus we love.”

The Women’s Giving Circle was established by founding members of the Women and Philanthropy Committee of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century and included Pat Cooper, Mary Trimble Maier (B.A. 1949), Julia Peck Mobley (B.S.E. 1965), Harriett Phillips (B.A. 1972), Debbie Walker, Lynne Walton (B.A. 1970), Mary Lib White and Donna Axum Whitworth (B.A. 1966, M.A. 1969).

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Courtesy of Arkansas Newswire

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