Grant connects Eastern to community

By Alex Miller, Staff Writer

Since the early 2000s the Start Something Big Grant at EWU has helped faculty and staff with funding when the state cannot, but it is gearing up to help more in coming years as the grant prepares for an increased budget.

“The program is a grant program that the foundation board of directors offers to faculty and staff of the university,” said Michael J. Westfall, University Advancement vice president and EWU Foundation executive director.

The program also has a committee which reviews applications that are submitted for funding.

“It’s our favorite committee,” Westfall said. “And that’s because they are reviewing proposals and allocating funds to do good on campus.”

Funds were tight when he first started working at Eastern, but that has changed in recent years, according to Westfall.

“We had to reduce the overall funds that we were able to allow due to the budget issues,” Westfall said. “So we were about $20,000 per year that we were able to offer, but it is a pet project, if you will, of the board, so this next year we’re going to be allocating upwards of $60,000.”

EWU’s website said, “Proposals should enhance the university and provide opportunities for development and research support.”

“It’s a myriad of research projects,” said Lenore Stark, University Advancement executive assistant to the vice president.

Most recently in spring quarter 2014, the foundation provided grants to the computer science, English, music, Africana studies, engineering and design, geology and information technology departments at Eastern, according to the Start Something Big Grant summary sheet.

“We tend to fund those things for which there aren’t state funds available and so we’re able to sort of fill that gap,” Westfall said. “The average award is in the $1,000 range, so it’s enough to make a difference, but we want to try and spread that around and try to impact as many programs and initiatives on campus that we can.”

Start Something Big Grant applications are due on Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. Applications will be accepted again on the third Wednesday of winter and spring quarter of 2015.

For more information, visit the EWU Foundation website at ewufoundation.com or contact Lenore Stark at [email protected]