Kenan-Biddle Partnership offers $5,000 grants to bring Duke, UNC students together on projects

Posted on Sep 13, 2011 in Students

Grant applications are being accepted for the second year of the Kenan-Biddle Partnership, funded by The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. The initiative promotes collaborative projects between students of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Grant applications are being accepted for the second year of the Kenan-Biddle Partnership, funded by The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. The initiative promotes collaborative projects between students of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Last year, the partnership awarded 10 grants totaling $50,000 for projects ranging from sustainable agriculture to global health equity to contemporary poetry. A list of last year’s grantees is available at http://www.studentaffairs.duke.edu/kenan-biddle/2011-grantees.

Grantees Megan Morikawa of Duke and Chase Pickering of UNC said the grant helped them achieve significantly higher goals than otherwise would have been possible. “The Kenan-Biddle Partnership allowed the Duke & UNC Roots & Shoots group to achieve ambitious goals and events for 2011 which, as a young group, we never had thought possible,” Morikawa said.

“The partnership not only provided the funding, but gave us confidence and inspired creativity in the execution of the 2011 Primate Palooza, featuring Jane Goodall,” she said. “The grant allowed our organization to bring in guest speakers, rent venues of the appropriate size and impact for our events, help advertise on both campuses, and bring together both student bodies to celebrate the work and research being conducted on both campuses.”

The partnership will continue to promote student-initiated, inter-institutional projects designed to strengthen established collaborations or encourage new ones. Proposed projects may also contribute to the scholarly or public service missions of both campuses. Each project proposal must include a student or students who serve as the project initiator.

An annual call for proposals from both campuses will encourage collaborative arts, sciences and humanities projects that will positively affect both campus communities. Each project must include at least one public exhibition, presentation or performance. Preference will be given to proposals made jointly by students from both institutions.

“A great benefit of the inter-campus effort has been the sharing of expertise and scholarly passion that our faculty and student members have brought to TUFS [Triangle University Food Studies],” students Anna Child of UNC and Emily McGinty of Duke said. “The leaders of the group, Dr. Charlie Thompson from Duke and Dr. Marcie Ferris from UNC, are an illustrative example. Dr. Thompson brings his passion and years of experience in working with migrant farmworkers and focuses on the hands that bring our food to the plate, while Dr. Ferris brings an incredible knowledge and understanding the history of southern food and its culture.”

This project is just one example from a diverse range of interests, including public health, women's studies, English literature, law, environmental studies, soil science, and others, the students said. This work and an upcoming symposium planned for the spring are possible because of the resources available on both campuses and the support and spirit of the Kenan-Biddle Partnership grant.

Proposal applications for 2011-12 may be submitted through Oct. 14. Decisions will be announced in November for a Jan. 1 start. Applicants should see http://www.studentaffairs.duke.edu/kenan-biddle for more information.

Funds may be used flexibly for project support, salary and materials. Grant requests should be for approximately $5,000; however, larger requests may be considered depending upon the scope and impact of the project. In total, up to $50,000 will be awarded annually as part of a three-year grant by the foundations. The projects are expected to run for a calendar year, with possible renewal.

The proposals will be reviewed by an advisory committee of students, faculty and administrators co-chaired by Ronald Strauss, executive associate provost at UNC, and Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs at Duke.

The Kenan-Biddle Partnership is the latest in a growing list of positive collaborative efforts between Duke and UNC. The privately funded Robertson Scholars Program, for instance, was designed as a catalyst for increased collaboration on the two campuses. Since its inception in 2000, the merit-based scholarship program has enabled hundreds of top students to study at both institutions and to take part in leadership development opportunities.

Other joint efforts include the Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship, also co-funded by The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, and partnerships in a variety of academic and civic-minded programs locally and abroad.

The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust was established in 1965 from the estate of alumnus William R. Kenan, Jr., a member of UNC’s class of 1894. The Kenan family’s philanthropic support of UNC dates to 1790 when James Kenan, a member of the University’s first Board of Trustees, contributed $50 to the construction of Old East, the nation’s first state university building.  The Kenan Charitable Trust and related Kenan entities and family members together represented the single largest donor to the University’s last major fundraising drive, the Carolina First Campaign, committing nearly $70 million.

Named for the daughter of Duke University benefactor Benjamin N. Duke, The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation’s mission is to further and extend Mrs. Biddle's life-long interests in religious, educational and charitable activities in New York City and the state of North Carolina. Since its inception in 1956, The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation has awarded grants totaling approximately $36 million in support of the goals she endorsed and the values she exemplified.

Duke Contact: Chris Heltne, (919) 684-3576, chris.heltne@duke.edu
UNC Contact: Mike McFarland, (919) 962-8593, mike_mcfarland@unc.edu

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