New grant offered to student groups

Anh Bui

Augustana created the first-ever Impact Week Grant. Student groups can apply for two $500 grants. According to a document shared to students from the Augie website, the program is an opportunity for student groups to fund their own community service projects, on or off campus. 

A google document with information was sent out to students through the student bulletin. This included details about what the grant committee was looking for in their recipient. For example, the requirement that projects must occur before May 13, 2022 and that the recipients must complete a report on the project by May 20, 2022.  

Kent Barnds, executive vice president of external relations, and his wife, Jennie Barnds, are generously funding the program. They believe Impact Week can illustrate to students the importance of philanthropy and the impact of generosity on the Augustana experience. 

“The college experience is not a transactional experience; it’s a transformational experience,” Barnds said. “We think that Impact Week and discussing the importance of philanthropy is a part of creating a culture of gratitude and a culture that believes in the transformational value of the Augustana experience.”

Barnds highlighted that donors make the Augustana experience possible for current students. 

“Whether it’s through financial aid and scholarship, whether it’s through campus buildings, whether it’s through internships, philanthropy fuels the Augustana experience, and that’s why we want to take some time out and be in a position to illustrate that to students,” Barnds said. 

Evan Sammons, alumni engagement and fundraising specialist, said the Impact Week Grant will be a three-day program and the chosen groups will be declared the last day. 

The first day of Impact Week will be at the Brew and is called ‘Getting the scoop on philanthropy.’ Students can enjoy ice cream and learn about giving back. The next day is ‘Donor Impact Day’ and includes information on what donors do for students. The last day is ‘Impact Day,’ which honors how the Augustana community volunteers. 

Sammon, also a recent graduate, said the generous scholarships and financial support from the college and philanthropists is how he could attend Augustana.

“It’s important to start talking with our students about the value of philanthropy, so that when they graduate, they feel compelled to give back to Augustana as well as strengthen the community that we all love,” Sammons said. 

The Student Alumni Board will work closely with grant writers to decide the two student groups whose initiatives align best with the college’s community principles. 

“It’s the same thing when we go out and we speak to an organization, to a donor or to a corporation, and we ask them to support the mission of Augustana College,” Barnds said. 

Both Barnds and Sammon hope the Impact Week Grant can be an annual funding event, and that support from the program can help student groups create a long-lasting impact on the Augie community.

“When an organization or an individual provides financial support, they want to understand the impact. Evan and the Student Alumni Board will go back to donors and say this is what you funded. And then at that point, there will be conversations. ‘Would you like to continue funding something like this in the future?’ and that’s the way it works,” Barnds said.