ReImagine Georgetown Grant Program Sees Fewer Applications
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 23:10
The ReImagine Georgetown Grant program received 14 applications this year, four fewer than last year’s total.
According to Ryan Muldoon (COL ’13), chair of the philanthropy committee of Students of Georgetown, Inc. and RIG board member, those on the board struggled to effectively advertise and encourage applications.
“We already have a lot on our plate as board members, so it’s really an effort to put the due diligence into the legwork that really makes RIG feasible and effective,” Muldoon said.
Applications for the 2012 RIG grants were due Sunday, and the board will announce the winners no later than Nov. 12.
Sponsored by The Corp, the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union and The Hoya, the RIG program grants a maximum of $10,000 to fund student proposals that help shape life on campus. Programs started via RIG grants include the Georgetown University Farmers’ Market, Breaking the Bubble — a program that allows students to participate in the community outside the front gates — and The Georgetown Conversation, an online forum where students and faculty can post video lectures
“RIG is really a place for people with big ideas and projects that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive. RIG is an opportunity for those projects to come to life,” Muldoon said.
The Corp and GUASFCU each donated $5,000, while The Hoya contributed marketing and advertising resources. The board is not required to award the entire amount each year and sometimes splits funding among multiple proposals.
Justin Kwan (MSB ’13), treasurer for both GUASFCU and RIG, cited a lack of continuity between current and past boards as an obstacle to bolstering the number of applications.
"We only met with the old RIG board once,” Kwan said. “So to be honest, I don't really know. We don't really know a lot about what happened last year."
Before the application deadline, the RIG board held three open houses throughout the month of October.
“A lot of people came with questions about the budget or about their projects and to get feedback,”RIG Secretary and Chair of The Corp Service and Outreach Committee Meg Cheney (NHS ’13) said.
She also commented on the open houses.
“It’s just a very different application process than other competitions for grants on campus.”
The application was posted online on The Corp’s website and consisted of three questions and a budget plan.
All applicants will be interviewed by the RIG board to discuss their plans and their budgets.
There is no limit on the amount of money an applicant can request, but Kwan said that the board maintains a high standard.
“We’re not required to give out the $10,000 every year, so we’re really looking for the ideas that will truly benefit the students at Georgetown,” Kwan said.
Cheney also emphasized the flexibility the board has in determining grant awards.
“It’s a really open-ended process,” Cheney said. “It’s really based on the applicants and what we see in their ideas.”
After the winners are announced, the RIG board maintains contact to ensure that all proposals are completed.
“Each member of the board is assigned [to] winners to be their mentor,” Cheney said. “We also have people checking in with people who have won past years’ awards. Also, their money is managed in GUASFCU accounts, so they have to deal with someone from our board always to access the money.”
According to Kwan, the mentorship program aims to prevent initiatives from dying out once funding has been granted.
“The responsibility is really on us,” Kwan said. “In the past, some organizations have kind of fallen off and died out, but we’re really making it a priority this year.”
In addition, the board is considering methods of increasing awareness of the program. One option involves changing the application deadline from the fall to the spring, which would enable the board to focus on advertising and raising awareness during the fall and launch the application and deliberation process in the spring.
“Ultimately, I think it will lead to more applications, and I also think the lack of marketing has really led to the smaller applicant pool,” Kwan said. “I really think that RIG is so underutilized, and it could really make such a difference in students’ lives.”