Women’s Giving Circle celebrates 20th year of funding


Photo by Chieko Hara

The Women’s Giving Circle celebrated its 20th anniversary on November 4, awarding $100,000 to nine university programs and two endowment scholarships on the U of A campus.

The U of A Women’s Giving Circle last week celebrated 20 years of funding innovative projects, programs and research by giving away $100,000 in its annual fall vote.

This year’s funding brings the group’s total to more than $1.7 million awarded since 2002.

Comprised of U of A alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university, the Women’s Giving Circle was formed to encourage women as philanthropic leaders.

Circle members make annual contributions to generate funds for the awards, and these contributions are pooled and awarded annually to select recipients who complete the grant application process.

This year’s grantees were selected from 18 proposals, with 13 finalists selected through an online vote. During the event, the Women’s Giving Circle listened to presentations from the finalists and then voted on the selection of the winning programs. The amounts of the nine grants awarded this year ranged from $6,000 to nearly $20,000.

Recipients of this year’s grant include:

No-Auditory-Um: Evaluation of the Acoustical and Spatial Interior Environments in the University of Arkansas Auditorium – A proposal by Jennifer Webb of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, Rachel Glade of the College of Education and Health Professions, and alumna Jamie Zakovec received $19,874.

This research project will assess acoustic conditions in the university’s largest lecture halls to identify interventions that improve academic performance and social integration of students and faculty with hearing loss.

Evaluation of ESTEEM, a self-esteem improvement program for low-income women — A mentoring and education program designed to help women with limited resources develop the soft skills and knowledge needed to gain confidence and succeed in life.

This proposal received $11,000 and was presented by Ananda Rosa of the School of Social Work, Merry Moiseichik of the College of Education and Health Professions, and Sheila Posey, who serves as Chief Inspiration Officer of ESTEEM – Empower Sisters Together to Encourage, Engage, and acts moving.

Wandering Durst: A Studio Album of Choral Music by Florence Price from the Schola Cantorum — A proposal submitted by Stephen Caldwell at the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences received $10,000.

Funding for this project will contribute to the production costs, including recording and finishing, for the recording of the Schola Cantorum choral music by Florence Price, a historically marginalized black Arkansas composer.

Cultivating sustainable K-12 AGRI-STEM pathways through CommUniversity partnerships — A program aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented students pursuing agricultural degrees and expanding the community of diverse Arkansas agricultural leaders through immersive hands-on learning and mentoring opportunities.

Presented by Jacquelyn Mosley in the School of Human Environmental Sciences; Katherine Dilley of Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences; and Wendell Scales, Associate Director of Innovation, Arkansas Lighthouse Academies. This proposal received $10,000.

“Sense” of sensorimotor rehabilitation in virtual reality — A proposal submitted by Andres Pena and graduate student Aliyah Shell at the Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research received $10,000.

This research project aims to advance the use of virtual reality training in sensorimotor rehabilitation for people with a neurological disorder, leading to better access to rehabilitation, improved functionality, confidence and quality of life.

art/works! — A vocational training program in artistic integration for at-risk high school students who will learn from experts in the field the day-to-day operations of visual and performing arts facilities, serve the community by mentoring elementary school students, and provide professional assignments for performances and art exhibitions at the Faulkner Performing Arts Center.

This proposal received $10,000 and was presented by Nicole Leachman at the Faulkner Performing Arts Center and by Martha Sandven and Hung Pham at the College of Education and Health Professions’ Center for Children and Youth.

Weight Stigma Wednesday: An Educational Community Program — A proposal from Magdalena Arroyo, trainer presenter for the IDEALS Institute, and Meredith Moore, mental health clinician at Pat Walker Health Center, received $9,500.

This innovative educational community program aims to reduce eating disorders, eating disorders and weight stigma, leading to an improvement in the lives of women on campus.

Supporting People with Neurodiversity in the Transition to Independent Living and the Workplace: Community Engagement in Program Development for EMPOWER at the University of Arkansas — A project to evaluate and create certificate programs focused on hospitality and human development that provide people with neurodiversity with the education and skills to find paid employment upon program completion.

The proposal, presented by Kelly Way and Jennifer Becnel at Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, received $7,000.

Dream BIG service and education project — A proposal from Grace Martin, member of the Dream BIG (Believe in Girls) student council, received $6,000. Dream BIG assembles U of A women to mentor middle school girls at JO Kelly Middle School in Springdale, Arkansas.

This program enables mentors and mentees to identify a community need and lead a concrete service project that encourages collaboration, team building, problem solving, and leadership skills in all participants.

The Women’s Giving Circle Founders Doted Advance Arkansas Scholarship and the Women’s Giving Circle Endowed Scholarship in Nursing each received $3,313 to continue providing scholarships to new, returning, and transferred Arkansas students who demonstrate financial need and demonstrated academic success and leadership in can show to the community.

“The Women’s Giving Circle celebrates the incredible accomplishment of 20 years of giving,” said Kelly Chaney, WGC President. “For 20 years, this group has made a significant impact on the people of Arkansas and across the country by funding 145 projects and three grantees. We are thrilled that we have been able to support so many valuable projects with our combined resources this year.

“I’m proud to be part of this group of philanthropic women who are making such a difference in the lives of others by coming together to cast their vote each year where everyone has a voice. As we think about our next 20 years, I invite more women to join and make a difference by funding these innovative projects and research.”

The Women’s Giving Circle was formed in 2002 and its founding members include Sylvia Boyer (BSE ’63), Pat Cooper, Johnelle Hunt, Debbie King, Mary Trimble Maier (BA ’49), Julia Peck Mobley (BSE ’65) and Harriett Phillips ( BA’72), Lynne Walton (BA’70), Margaret Whilock (BSE’57), Mary Lib White and Donna Axum Whitworth (BA’66, MA’69).

Life Circle members are Carol S. Adams, Nancy Bittle, Beth Carter, Kelly Chaney, Charlotte Downs, Sandra K. Edwards, Margie Pomfret Farber, Denise Garner, Martha Cornwell Haguewood, Melissa McIlroy Hawkins, Denise Henderson, Trish Brown Joyner, Ranu Jung, Debbie King, Kellie Knight, Lee Lane, Marybeth Mayfield, Judy McDonald, Julia Peck Mobley, Janet Parsch, Connie Pate, Harriett Phillips, Karen Pope, Cindy Pugh, Catherine Ross, Susan Scott Ross, Jane Shipley, Sandy Steinmetz, Mary Lib White, Dina Wood and Ann Marie Ziegler.

About the University of Arkansas: As the flagship Arkansas institution, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy by imparting new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and workplace development, discovery through research and creative pursuits, while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few US colleges and universities with the highest research activity. US News & World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. See how the U of A works to create a better world at Arkansas Research News.


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