RICHMOND – Have a worthwhile community-based project that only needs funding?

Eastern Kentucky University is ready to help.

EKU President Michael Benson and the university’s Center for Appalachian Regional Engagement and Stewardship (CARES) invite communities throughout Eastern’s 22-county service region to submit proposals for one of five $10,000 CARES community grants.

Projects in Madison and and 21 other counties are eligible. The other counties include Bell, Boyle, Casey, Clay, Estill, Garrard, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Lee, Leslie, Lincoln, McCreary, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Wayne and Whitley.

The grants illustrate EKU’s commitment to its partnerships with the communities, as well as its profound dedication to working with those partners to enhance the quality of life throughout the region, according to CARES Director Ian Mooers.

EKU initiated the CARES community grants in 2013 and Benson, who has a leadership role in the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative, said he is proud to continue the effort for another year.

“This is a great opportunity for our faculty, staff and students to partner with local individuals and organizations to work hand-in-hand together to positively impact the places we live, work and call home,” Benson said.

Initiatives must include EKU partners and focus on one or more of the five following areas identified by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education: economic and workforce development, education, environment, collaborative government, and health, wellness and safety. These might include, but are not limited to:

• Strategic planning and management processes for communities

• Implementation of projects from a community-based strategic plan that cover one or more of the areas

• Training for citizen leaders, local officials, management and staff from non-profit community agencies, as well as boards or commissions

• Support for initiatives that enhance leadership, planning and management capacity for communities

• Use of professional services to assess a project’s feasibility, to offer consulting advice on a strategy, to support application development, etc.

• Projects that emphasize broad community participation and involvement in the planning and implementation process.

CARES community grant funds may not be used to cover construction costs. Special consideration will be given to projects that impact counties designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission as “distressed” or “in transition.” Additional consideration will be given to projects in EKU service-region counties that fall within the Promise Zone Region.

The community grant programs will function on a reimbursement basis, and cost-share is required. Grantees must first spend their own funds, in line with an approved budget, and then submit documentation of expenses to the CARES office to receive reimbursement.

Proposals are due to the CARES office by March 27, and must be submitted via the CARES electronic submission process. Grant recipients will be announced in May 2015. The period of performance for the grants is July 2015-June 2016.

A review committee will determine which projects are chosen for funding. The highest scoring applications will present projects that are well planned, have defined goals, are long-lasting, result in significant benefits for the local community, include University partners, include a community education component, and are reasonable in cost.

For complete information about eligibility guidelines, application procedures, and instructions for the submission process, visit regionalstewardship.eku.edu/insidelook/2015-presidential-cares-community-challenge-grants-1. Questions may be directed to Karrie Adkins, Project Director, CARES, at karrie.adkins@eku.edu or 622-6168.

The EKU Center for Appalachian Regional Engagement and Stewardship was established to provide a unified, comprehensive approach to stewardship and engagement that focuses on the five aforementioned areas.

CARES encompasses the Center for Appalachian Studies, the Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship Program, Service Learning, PRISM: A Journal of Regional Engagement, the Kentucky Institute for Public Governance and Civic Engagement, the Office of Regional Stewardship and the Regional Outreach Agent Program. It is housed in EKU’s Office of University Programs and is headed by Ian Mooers, who also serves as director of the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology, based at Eastern.

For more information about how CARES can assist with community needs, contact Mooers at 622-2334.

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