Fund Established to Support Community Service

For Immediate Release: 
Feb 10 2009

Athens, W.Va. – The Concord University Foundation, Inc., and the Bonner House for Campus-Wide Community Service announce the establishment of the CU SERVE fund, where individuals and businesses can make tax-deductible donations to allow Concord University to develop community service and service-learning activities and resources for its students.

Donations made to the CU SERVE fund will primarily be used to develop unique service experiences for students including alternative semester break projects, beginning with one this spring break serving those experiencing homelessness in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I’ve found more and more in my years as a student at Concord University, and now working through AmeriCorps VISTA, that there is a deep desire and energy among many students to serve our community and to make a difference, “ said Jesse Call, one of two service project developers for the Bonner House.

The goal is to make these unique service opportunities open to as many students as possible to enhance their learning and empower them to make change.

“Students often come from places where they see their neighbors—or maybe even their own families—in need,” said Call. “That is then coupled with a liberal arts education that makes them aware of even more of the problems of poverty that plague our nation and world. Students then want the chance to learn more about the issues of poverty through experience working with it and they want to start making a difference now, not just after they earn their Concord degrees.”

And indeed some students will learn more through a tough experience this April as they participate in the National Coalition for the Homeless’ Student Homeless Challenge Project, where they will spend two days and nights on the streets of Washington, D.C., seeing firsthand what it’s like to be a person enduring homelessness.

The CU SERVE fund will allow opportunities like these to become an annual tradition and to keep these opportunities free of charge to students.

“With these tough times in our national and local economy, more and more college students are finding themselves strapped for cash. So, when students want to take advantage of unique service opportunities they often cannot because these opportunities require a significant financial contribution that they cannot meet,” Call explained. “Thus, we ask that those who can give at this time to do so and allow these students to not have to miss out on great opportunities because of a lack of financial resources.”

While the fund is primarily designated to fund unique local and national service learning trips similar to the one students will participate in next month with the residents of the Princeton Health Care Center, it is hoped that as it develops it will allow for even more benefits to Concord University students, faculty, staff, and local and national community service agencies.

“As the fund grows, we also would like to see it fund other service initiatives such as large on-campus service events; service resources, tools and equipment check-out service for students and campus organizations; service-learning grants for faculty; and service awards and scholarships for students,” Call said.

Recently, through a one-time, special grant from the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation of Princeton, N.J., Concord was able to award $8,000 earlier this year to faculty members to develop and enhance service-learning opportunities for students in their academic courses. Call said he hoped that if this fund receives enough donations that similar awards can be made in the future.

Donations may be made to the CU SERVE fund by sending a check or money order made payable to the Concord University Foundation, Inc., to: Concord University Foundation, PO Box 1405, Athens, WV 24712-1405. Note “CU SERVE” on the memo line. All donations are tax-deductible.