Initiative grants set in place to provide service to county

Greene County is one of the poorest counties in Pennsylvania. 

Fortunately, there are many organizations and people that strive to fix this problem. 

To aid the fight against the county’s poverty, Waynesburg University’s Center for Service Leadership announced Oct. 5 that initiative grants are available for students, faculty and staff who are leading small-to-mid sized service projects aimed to reform Greene County. 

The grants were given to the university by Richard King Mellon Foundation, an organization dedicated to serve the southwestern Pennsylvania through awarding grants. 

R.K. Mellon wanted the university to use the grants for service initiatives. Kelley Hardie, director of the Center for Service Leadership, said the university decided to use part of the money for grants for the center to give out. 

“This is just one branch of that, this grant will fuel because the grant was very large, and there were many other intentions behind it,” Hardie said. “All service [has] intentions, but this is just one branch of that.” 

Grant applications can be found on an email sent by Hardie describing the grants earlier this month. 

Applications are due Nov. 26, and noticies on accepted applications will be sent out Dec. 3. Proposals can ask for any amount of money under the maximum of $5000. The number of grants given out depends on the how much money is given in each grant. 

Hardie said the number depends on how many grants given and how much for each individual grant. 

“It’s not based upon numbers, it ’s based upon finances,” Hardie said. “So, financially, I have a budget for the next three years and I can fund ‘x’ amount of proposals based upon a certain funding criteria. For example, if a student only submits a proposal for $200 and somebody else submits something for up to the max amount of $5000, I can fund both of those because I have a range of money I can work with.” 

Now that the grants are public knowledge, some university employees have already submitted applications. 

Andrew Heisey, chairperson for the Fine Arts Department, said he applied for around $2000 to provide scholarships for the Fine Arts Academy starting in Spring 2019 

“Every $250 is a scholarship, at least for a class,” Heisey said. “I would love to have a $1000 to $2000 to be able to at least offer four or five good sized scholarships,” Heisey said. 

Heisey said that people in Greene County , don’t have the money usually to pay for lessons. 

The Fine Arts Academy is aimed to give people in Greene County an affordable outlet to learn art and music and escape from life. 

“There are so many people that feel trapped,” he said. “They can’t get out, so they go to drugs or something else. We have a horrible drug problem in Greene County, it’s terrible,” Heisey said. “So, if we can at least provide the education through scholarships or supplementing the cost to take the class, we can still provide quality education for people and really change the environment.” 

Applications for grants are due no later than Nov. 26, and the notifications for accepted proposals will be sent out Dec. 3. For more information on the initiative grants, contact Kelley Hardie at khardie@ or 724- 852-3461.