Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

A Message from the President: The power of private foundation grants

A Message from the President: The power of private foundation grants

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During the Campaign for a Greater Lycoming, the College has increased significantly its capacity to attract support from private foundations. During January, for example, we received grants from the Morgan Foundation ($500,000) and the Stabler Foundation ($460,000). Since the beginning of the campaign in 2009, more than $6 million has been received from sixteen different foundations.

Even more remarkable is the impact that foundation grants have had upon students. Since 2012, the Stabler Foundation has awarded the College a total of $3.75 million to establish an endowed scholarship fund, and more than a dozen students from central Pennsylvania have already benefitted. Within four years, the scholarship established by the Morgan Foundation will provide $6,000 in annual scholarships to four students from Schuykill County. The Hearst Foundations have also provided funds to augment the College’s financial aid budget; a $75,000 gift has allowed us to enrich the financial aid packages of some of our highest-need students.

Foundation grants have also funded enhancements to the curriculum, construction of academic facilities and the acquisition of equipment. The Mellon Foundation provided $100,000 that expanded summer research collaborations between students and faculty in the humanities and humanities-infused social sciences. The Degenstein Foundations have funded summer internships and research at the Clean Water Institute in the amount of $160,000. The Rust Family Foundation has supported Professor Jessica Munson’s important archaeological work in Guatemala; the Delmas Foundation approved a grant to advance Professor Pam Gaber’s work at Idalion in Cyprus; the Woodcock Foundation provided a grant to support the women’s history project; and the Phi Kappa Phi Foundation partnered with the College on a community literacy outreach project. The local First Community Foundation Partnership made a generous $300,000 grant toward the planetarium in the Lynn Science Center and the M&T Charitable Trust awarded the College $50,000 toward the building. More than $200,000 in grants from the Alden Trust have allowed us to acquire a scanning electron microscope and construct a psychology lab, and the Pittsburgh Conference has also assisted in the purchase of science equipment.       

Recruiting a student body that reflects the full mosaic of the American population is a primary objective of the 2014 Strategic Plan. Grants from AT&T have advanced that goal by providing funding for a program known as Lycoming College Prep. Over the past three summers, this program has afforded 78 first-generation students from 10 different states and the District of Columbia the opportunity to spend three weeks in residence gaining exposure to the residential liberal arts college experience. In a similar vein, the Booth Ferris Foundation has awarded Lycoming a $110,000 grant that will be used to create a summer transition program called Lycoming Academy.

A $1 million grant to Lycoming College and the City of Williamsport by the First Community Foundation Partnership has been and will remain crucial in executing the transformational Gateway Project. This grant is being used as matching funds to leverage millions more in public funding that will finance the creation of the new entrance to Lycoming College and begin revitalizing the east end of Williamsport in which the College has been located since 1840.

Because foundations pay attention to giving by those closest to the College when evaluating grant proposals, Campaign participation by thousands of alumni, faculty, staff and friends has been essential to the College’s success in securing foundation funding. Those of us who work at the College and our students are grateful that the generosity of Lycoming’s friends and alumni has also enabled us to attract the support of the many foundations mentioned in this article; it has been critical to our dream of building a Greater Lycoming.

Kent C. Trachte, Ph.D., is the 15th president of Lycoming College.

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