The Women of Excellence Giving Circle awards 10 grants worth more than $66,000 to University projects

| April 20, 2012

The Women of Excellence annual Giving Circle Awards program announced more than $66,000 in grants to 10 recipients at this year’s annual luncheon on April 18. The program received 13 proposals, the most since it began in 2009. This year’s applicants sought almost $85,000 for projects ranging from gardens and computer science to mentoring and art.

The Women of Excellence was created to honor, extend and advance the legacy of women graduates of both Xavier and Edgecliff College. The organization provides opportunities for women to grow as organizational and philanthropic leaders for the University. It created the Giving Circle to provide women a way to collectively support Xavier and to encourage the development of women as philanthropic leaders. Giving Circle members are alumnae, parents and friends who believe women as donors are capable of making a tremendous impact on Xavier—its students, faculty and staff.

Donations to the Giving Circle are distributed through a grant application process to projects proposed by faculty, staff and student groups of Xavier. The annual distribution of funds is determined through a voting process by Giving Circle members. The winners are announced at the annual luncheon in April.

The 10 winners this year are:

• NEXUS Community Garden, $9,590. The NEXUS Community Garden is entering its third season as a 30-plot community garden involving over 250 short-term and long-term participants per year including Xavier students, faculty, staff and neighborhood residents. NEXUS is a hands-on collaborative project to grow food, learn about sustainable living and build community on common ground. Funds support increased course involvement, educational workshops and student garden leadership.

• Girls Advancing Technology: Computer Science Outreach Event, $2,680. For most middle school girls, computer science is a foreign concept. It's perceived from a young age as something for boys or simply something not interesting. Girls Advancing Technology seeks to improve girls' perception of careers in technology by exposing them to fun computer science activities through hands-on activities with female industry mentors. The program seeks to grow from last year’s half-day to a full day with more students and mentors showing how tech careers can be meaningful and interesting.

• Preparing Future Women of Excellence, $4,018. The program creates an outreach event that connects graduate and undergraduate women of the Department of Psychology with an underprivileged and underserved group of high school girls in the community. The first goal of the program is to provide young women with mental preparedness, professional materials and interpersonal skills to empower them as future career women. The second goal is to encourage these young women to pursue their collegiate professional dreams through peer modeling and networking with current Xavier students. The final goal is to promote what it means to excel as a future professional.

• Xavier University Mentoring Program, $5,500. The mentoring program, entering its fourth year, is geared toward connecting professionals with students within the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Social Sciences, Health & Education. The program has grown each year largely because of financial support from the Giving Circle. Continued funding enables the Career Services Center to continue its initiatives ensuring current mentors and mentees the opportunity to connect and learn as well as allow for targeted, large-scale marketing efforts and events geared toward students, faculty, staff and potential mentors.

• Tuition Runs Out Day 2013, $9,000. For the past five years, Tuition Runs Out Day has served as the Student Alumni Association's signature event. With a mission of educating students about the importance of alumni support and the impact it has on the everyday Xavier experience, the Student Alumni Association organizes passive and active programming throughout the school year culminating in an all-day event for the student body every spring. The student giving initiative promotes the message of "giving back" for students as well as alumni. Funding helps to expand the message and educate more students on ways they, too, can give back to Xavier through their time, talents and treasures.

• Strategies for Success Workshop for Non-Traditional Undergraduates, $3,000. Funds allow for development and presentation of a workshop for non-traditional, first-time college students or those with little prior college experience. The workshop prepares them for a successful college experience and includes reading and writing skills, study skills, time management and technology. Adult students represent the majority of prospective college students in our country and this population is expected to grow. Although most of the non-traditional students have prior college experience, our reports show that those entering college for the first time or return to college after a long absence risk dropping out after taking only a few courses. This workshop aims to improve the retention of non-traditional students and helps students gain the confidence and tools they need to succeed in college and meet their goal of earning a college degree.

• Xavier University 2012 Summer Service Internship Program, $5,000. Xavier's Summer Service Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to nurture the commitment to community engagement for Xavier students. The program teaches interns how to become leaders within the community and to understand the complex problems that disenfranchised populations face. Living together in the residence hall and gathering for reflection sessions and common meals strengthens this experience. As a unique, full-time immersion experience for Xavier students, the program provides two important student benefits: Students serve the Greater Cincinnati community in a deep and meaningful way while earning necessary income from summer employment.

• Xavier University Multicultural Expressions of Faith Art Exhibition, $10,000. This project affirms Xavier’s mission through a community-engaged art endeavor that reflects the multicultural expressions of faith and spirituality of members of the University community. The project is an intentional collection and display of multiculturally expressive art on campus and includes a juried exhibition of original works of art, open to all Xavier alumni, faculty, staff and students. Selected works are exhibited in the Xavier University Art Gallery and Gallagher Student Center for public viewing. This grant buys art for permanent exhibition on campus and is a first step toward the acquisition of art guided by a mission-based, inclusive vision that seeks to broaden the scope of art currently found on campus. The ultimate goal is to establish a precedent for a more strategic process of future campus art acquisitions.

• TRiO, Student Support Services Enrichment Xcursions, $7,700. The TRiO Student Support Services program is committed to providing an academic, professional, financial and personal support system to guide students to benefit from educational opportunities and achieve a greater quality of life. The Enrichment Xcursions program focuses on academic, professional and personal development. The academic component helps students understand their strengths in order to improve their academic performance through taking the StrengthsQuest assessment and receiving training. The professional component exposes students to graduate school options and helps them make the best educational choices. The personal component introduces students to cultural experiences that they may not otherwise be able to have.

• Women of Excellence Endowed Scholarship, $10,000. The Women of Excellence is a major presence promoting women at Xavier. A critical component of that commitment to the advancement of women at Xavier is the establishment of the Women of Excellence Scholarships. Ten founding members of Women of Excellence have joined together to make a commitment to establish a Women of Excellence Endowed Scholarship at a base level of $50,000. This grant allows us to grow the base of this already established Women of Excellence Endowed Scholarship so the amount awarded each year continues to grow.