Features — 26 June 2014

Murray State University’s (MSU) office of regional outreach has announced its 2014-15 grant funding cycle. Now in its seventh year, the Regional Outreach Grant Program provides seed money for new and innovative educational programming for West Kentucky youth and adults. Applications are accepted for review at any time during the fiscal year (June 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015) as long as funds are available.

Members of the Regional Outreach Advisory Council, made up of at least one representative from all 18 counties in MSU’s service region, meet in person quarterly and participate in e-reviews on an ongoing basis throughout the year to determine which projects best support the council’s four main goals — education attainment, quality of life enhancement, collaborative partnerships and job creation.

These grants have benefitted thousands of students, parents, teachers and families and continue to enrich the lives of those who have contact with projects. The goal of the funding is to provide startup money that lays a solid foundation for sustainable projects. The grant guidelines application, and an overview of past grantees by fiscal year are online at www.murraystate.edu/outreach.

Regional outreach staff members are available to assist grant seekers with any questions regarding the grant process and/or their proposals. “We have tried to create a straightforward application process and offer support to those who have ideas for good projects for our region,” said Gina Winchester, executive director.

Winchester spends a lot of time on the road networking with teachers, administrators, nonprofit leaders and elected officials, which gives her the benefit of being able to “connect the dots” across the service region.

Winchester added, “If someone approaches us with an excellent project idea and we know of someone else who is interested in doing the same kind of work three counties away, sometimes we can join those forces to create partnerships to benefit a greater number of citizens.”

Regional outreach accepts proposals from grant seekers both internal and external to the university.

FY2013-14 grantees internal to the university included Dr. Renee Fister (mathematics and statistics) and Dr. Dina Byers and Dr. Dana Manley (nursing) for their collaborative “Health in a Box” project; Dr. Pam Matlock and Greg Gierhart (education) for their “Math Out of a Bag” program; and Dr. Aleck Leedy (engineering) for “Mobile Engineering Days.”

External grantees for FY2013-14 include Junior Achievement of West Kentucky, West Kentucky Educational Cooperative for the Prescription Drug Awareness Symposium, the Associated General Contractors of West Kentucky for Construction Career Day, and the Pennyrile Resource and Development Council for their “Building Bridges to Success” series for school children at Jeffers Bend Environmental Center and Botanical Garden.

Many projects provide experiential learning opportunities for MSU students, supporting the mission of Murray State’s new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), “Bring Learning to Life.”

For a complete listing of past grantees and more information on the granting process, visit www.murraystate.edu/outreach or call the office, located on the MSU campus in Heritage Hall, at 270.809.5088.


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