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Linda M. Buskala

Writing Sample - Grant Proposal

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PROPOSAL

A pilot project - The Learning Center for Academic Success will provide an adjunct to the existing services of the Skagit Valley College Student Services Offices by assisting the underserved students, whose needs are currently not being met. The project, for which we request funding assistance, will make a difference in the lives of prospective and existing students needing to hone their preparedness to enter higher education by providing them with the basic skills necessary to succeed. These skills and strategies will improve academic performance including but not limited to: eliminating test anxiety, increasing test performance, improving concentration and memory as well as study skills, reading comprehension, time management, and note taking. The mission is to enhance the learning experiences for all students by providing them the tools, skills, and strategies necessary to succeed. With increased access to higher education, these individuals will also be provided greater opportunities for improved employment prospects and, in the end, an improved quality of life.

The specific academic support that will be provided through the Learning Center for Academic Success will maximize the student’s success in the courses they take by providing them with supplemental instruction; through Study Smarter ® workshops, which will include tips and study strategies; as well as access to a counselor/academic specialist for individual assistance. Furthermore, there will be an opportunity for staff to design and implement a wide range of programs to fit the needs of the individual students, especially those individuals with Learning Disabilities.

Funds requested to create the pilot project will purchase needed printed materials (brochures, guides, booklets, etc), promotion/public relations, web-link design and access, a part-time coordinator/academic coach, and capital expense costs for material display racks, and supplies.

As this project is a pilot-program, we will be evaluating the program to ensure that the expressed goals are being met. There are several easily accessible measures of the success of the program, the first will be the data through the school of students entering the system who take advantage of the program and what the outcome is of their education, i.e. degree, certificate, dropout, etc. That same student can then be tracked as the progress in the process of job searches and the ultimate outcome of those searches. Interviews will be conducted of students while they are in the program determining how applicable the program is to their needs in addition to an exit interview asking them to similarly rate and discuss their experiences and whether the program helped with the issues that they presented at the time of their acceptance. Another long-term methodology will be local agencies pursuing new businesses and industries that are compatible with the island environment and marketplace, recruited, in part, on the educational and experiential background of our general population and their potential employees.
We invite a member of your team to personally visit our community and school to learn first-hand how this program will benefit not only the students but also the community-at-large. Once this pilot project has proven to be a well-developed and designed service, it is our contention that it should be fully integrated into the existing Student Services at Skagit Valley College and share in future funding from numerous federal, state, and local funders. Funding sources would include additional TRIO funds, Perkins, SVC Foundation, and funds generated through the regular budgetary process of Skagit Valley College, which are generated through student fees, taxes, and other fund-raising. We continue to pursue further funding, which could include, but is not limited to potential business and industry participation through the Island County Economic Development Council or other such organizations working toward a more economic viable business community on the island.

APPROPRIATENESS TO FUNDER’S MISSION

 

 

Helping People Achieve Their Potential ® (http://www.luminafouncation.org/ Accessed: May 1, 2005). “Lumina Foundation for Education, a private, independent foundation, strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access and success in education beyond high school” (http://www.luminafouncation.org/ Accessed: May 1, 2005).

When we discovered information concerning the Lumina Foundation for Education and read the above statements, we were filled with excited enthusiasm! The more that we read, the more we knew that the needs of our students is closely tied to the interests and goals of the Lumina Foundation for Education; in particular, your program entitled Helping People Achieve Their Potential®. Your stated goal, “We strive to expand access and success in postsecondary education.” is exactly what we are striving for in our pilot program to establish a Learning Center for Academic Success at Skagit Valley Community College in Oak Harbor, Washington.

The primary focus of our pilot program is to facilitate greater access to a successful postsecondary education; and if successful, will indeed help people achieve their potential!

Lumina Foundation states that from time to time, they identify a special initiative that has the potential to improve postsecondary access and success.  We are confident that our project will be such a “special initiative”.

Lumina also states the following: Lumina Foundation makes grants to organizations that are classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and as public charities under section 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) of the Code, or to public organizations that are designated under section 170(c) of the Code. Convinced that society has an important stake in the success of all students, we also encourage eligible grant recipients to propose projects and activities that involve communities, families and students in promoting educational access and success. In terms of the geographic scope: Lumina Foundation makes grants within the United States and its territories.  

 

 

 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

If this were an application being sent to Lumina Foundation or another grantmaker through the Common Grant Application, I would also need to attach a cover letter and the following:

 

1. Verification of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

2. List of current board members (include member affiliations and any other pertinent information).

3. List of key organizational staff, including titles and main functions.

4. IRS Form 990 (if available).

5. Most recent audited financial statement (if available).

6. A one-page summary of actual income and expenses for the past two complete years; a one-page listing of funding sources and amounts received from these sources over the past two years.

7. Organization’s current year operating budget.

8. A detailed budget of the project for which funds are being sought (if applicable).

9. If the project for which you are seeking funds is a collaboration with other agencies, include letters or other documentation from the collaborating agencies.

PHILANTHROPY NORTHWEST COMMON APPLICATION FORM 4 

 

NEEDS STATEMENT

 

Are you looking for a multi-benefit return on your Investment dollars?

 

Support for postsecondary education is an investment that has return benefits for both state and local governments and citizens living there. Private economic benefits are higher personal income, and lower unemployment. Public economic benefits are decreased reliance on public assistance. The following speaks for itself.

Does College Matter?

 

Higher Education Benefits

Economic

Public Private

Increased Tax Revenues Higher Salaries and Benefits

Greater Productivity Employment

Increased Consumption Higher Savings Levels

Increased Workforce Flexibility Improved Working Conditions

Decreased Reliance on

Government Financial Support

Personal/Professional Mobility

Social

Reduced Crime Rates Improved Health/Life Expectancy

Increased Charitable Giving/

Community Service

Improved Quality of Life for Offspring

Increased Quality of Civic Life Better Consumer Decision Making

Social Cohesion/Appreciation of Diversity Increased Personal Status

Improved Ability to Adapt to and Use Technology

More Hobbies, Leisure Activities

SOURCE: Institute for Higher Education Policy. 1998. Reaping the Benefits: Defining the Public and Private Value of Going to College. Washington, DC: Institute for Higher Education Policy.

 

Private social benefits

Better health; and

 

Public social benefits

Increased volunteerism, and increased voting participation.

 

While all states showed some increase in earning potential that favors those holding

Bachelor’s degrees, in terms of average total personal income, the percentage difference varied from state to state.  Despite the range of differences, the pattern is consistent:

higher unemployment was reported among those with only a high school diploma than among those with a Bachelor’s degree. An educated workforce with a lower unemployment rate also brings benefits to the nation as a whole and to individual states. The health of individuals also clearly has a broader social benefit in that healthier citizens reduce expenses on insurance, unreimbursed medical expenses, and other costs that are often passed on to other consumers.

Source: Institute for Higher Education.2005.The investment payoff. Washington D.C.: Institute for Higher Education Policy.
 

Skagit Valley College, Whidbey Island Campus, is located in downtown Oak Harbor. Oak Harbor and the other communities on Whidbey Island continue to see an influx of people attracted by the beauty of the island. Many of these individuals are semi-retired or early retired especially from the various branches of the military. Current population figures for Whidbey Island are 71,558, which includes NAS Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Freeland, Langley, and Clinton. Ethnic diversity is represented by a 3.3% Latino population, 4.5% Asian and Pacific Islander; .9% Native American; and 2.0% Black. The median income is $45,500 with a per capita income of $21,072.  Seven (7) percent of the population and 5.10 % of the families on Whidbey Island live below the poverty line.

The unemployment rate on Whidbey Island is 6.6 %. The majority of the jobs, after the military and other forms of governmental positions, is service industry jobs – such as Wal-Mart, K Mart and soon to be open, Home Depot. The majority of these jobs are part-time, in scarce supply, and do not pay much over minimum wage with few, if any, benefits. In order to live on Whidbey Island, with its’ high cost of living, individuals are forced to re-enter the job market. Competition for these jobs is fierce.

Many of these transplanted, job-seekers turn to Skagit Valley College to learn new job skills and/or further their existing education to finish a two-year degree and possibly on to a four-year school. The Lumina Foundation states, “Lifelong learning is an economic necessity”.

According to the Lumina Foundation,Some adult students may face learning obstacles and deficiency in academic preparation”. Individuals re-entering academia after a long absence, have an obvious disadvantage compared to incoming, younger students entering college straight from high school or after only a few years absence. As indicated by the Lumina Foundation, “Retention rates among adult students are lower than those of traditional college-aged students”.

 Skagit Valley College has prided itself in attempting to provide students and communities, in this rural setting, with user-friendly and effective access and at the present time, Skagit Valley College’s Student Services Office provides counseling and career services to prospective as well as existing students, aged approximately fifteen (15) to seventy plus (70+), including Oak Harbor, Coupeville, South Whidbey High Schools (all Whidbey Island public secondary schools), and all eligible Home schooled Running Start Students. The present services encompass academic counseling, disabled student services, and special student services. Yet, students are “falling through the cracks” in the system. The situation that these students find themselves in is that which your own literature has so eloquently described, “Statistics indicate that a more accurate description of today’s learner is an older adult who attends class on a part-time basis, has family responsibilities, works out of the home and commutes to school. Just as the demographics of these students are different, so are their needs.  

If these individuals and others like them are to succeed, they need assistance beyond what is already in place – they need a student center with a clear mandate to ensure the success of the students and create an environment of empowerment through academic achievement. The project for which we request funds will make a difference in the lives of the prospective and existing students needing to hone their preparedness to enter higher education by providing them with the basics necessary to succeed. With this success in education as a positive foundation, their new found skills, education, feelings of self-worth, esteem, and confidence will help propel them into better paying jobs here or off-island. It is our hope, though, that some of these individuals may discover an entrepreneurial tendency within them that would manifest into new business starts for our area. And, that with the increase of population with higher education, learned skills and expertise that our island would attract the businesses looking for exactly these individual educational types as potential employees.

The federal government initiated the No Child Left Behind program to ensure that all children have equal access to education. We suggest that what we need on Whidbey Island is a program that is entitled Not One Shall Be Left Behind, which ensures that all of those who are seeking to find a better life for themselves and for their families can do so through fair and equitable access to an education that will enhance their lives and further their goals.

 

APPLICANT ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND

 

Skagit Valley College, is a public community college, operating under the supervision of a local Board of Trustees appointed by the governor. The district includes Skagit, Island, and San Juan counties. SVC has campuses in Mount Vernon and at the Whidbey Island Campus in Oak Harbor. The college also operates three centers: the south Whidbey Center in Clinton, the San Juan Center in Friday Harbor, and the Business Resource Center in downtown Mount Vernon. Skagit Valley College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and is a Servicemember’s Opportunity College. Selected programs of study are approved by a Washington State Approving Agency for enrollment of those eligible for benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, U.S. code.

 

Skagit Valley opened its doors in 1926 as an adjunct to Mount Vernon High School and in 1970 opened the Whidbey Island Campus in Oak Harbor. Skagit Valley College is the second oldest two-year college in the state.

 

The Mission Statement of Skagit Valley College is to meet the diverse, lifelong educational needs of our community and develop the potential of our students. The Vision Statement states that Skagit Valley College is the primary resource for learning opportunities in our community, providing a path to the future and a place where people can enrich their lives today. Skagit Valley College has a deep commitment to putting learning first and providing students with challenging and affordable educational opportunities through many delivery modes.

 

Skagit Valley College offers diverse courses and program options. As a transfer Degree student, a student can take their first two years of college at SVC and then transfer to a four-year college or university as a junior. Their graduates who go on to college do as well or better than students who begin college at four-year schools. Or, if the goal is to re-tool or launch a new career, SVC offers Professional/Technical degrees and certificates in some of today’s most in-demand fields: Nursing or Diesel Power Technology, top mention a few. Individual’s who have been away from college for some time, will find the advising staff helpful in making the transition less stressful. The basic skills courses are designed to help students brush up on subjects like Math, English, and Reading, or complete high school, or get their GED. Individuals may also access classes for the purposes of personal enrichment. Learning through Skagit Valley College may be in the classroom or online. English as a Second Language courses are also offered.

 

Skagit Valley College has a commitment to diversity and as such believes that students are unique individuals and all deserve an opportunity to learn and live in a positive environment. This guiding principle is an important cornerstone at SVC. The goal is to foster values that promote open-mindedness, awareness, sensitivity, and respect for differences.

 

Skagit Valley College is proud to have recently received three prestigious national awards, the MetLife Foundation’s Best-Practice College Award; recognition as the #1 automotive training program in the United States from the Automotive Industry Planning Council; and, the award for first place in the nation among small/rural community colleges for the college’s use of technology from the Center for Digital Education and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

 

 The applicant for this grant request is Skagit Valley College, Whidbey Island Campus.