Council allocates $150,000 toward toward regional programs

The Murray State Office of Regional Outreach has decided to allocate $158,000 in area grants aimed toward educational development and non-profit organization support.

An advisory council made up of representatives from the University’s 18-county service region recommended the project grants after a meeting late last month where they reviewed multiple project proposals. Through the process, representatives sought to identify projects that aligned with the council’s four main goals of educational attainment, job creation, collaborative partnerships and quality of life.

Thus far, the council has selected 10 projects totaling at $158,265. That leaves enough money for the council to continue granting programs in the future.

One project among the most recent funded by the council includes a partnering of six United Way non-profit volunteer organizations in western Kentucky. The website, “Get Connected” will connect volunteers with organizations they seek to benefit.

Aaron Dail, executive director of the United Way of Murray-Calloway County said he was happy to hear that the Office of Regional Outreach would fund the proposal. The survival of the project depended on a full $12,800 grant – otherwise, Dail said, the project could not go forward.

“It wasn’t going to happen,” Dail said. “it was really a save the day kind of thing for Regional Outreach to make it happen. It created more flexibility for the six United Ways to do this.”

Dail said many volunteers have the energy to put work in but the collaboration in the “Get Connected” website will put the puzzle pieces together.

We saw a huge opportunity,” he said, “and thankfully, so did Regional Outreach.”

It is common for Regional Outreach to fund seed money that will allow projects to continue to begin and gain sustainability over the years.

The Office of Regional Outreach, which began in 2007, has seen its budget slowly dwindle while requests have only increased. The funds come at a time while Murray State is amidst a series of meetings by budget proposal teams initiated by President Randy Dunn. The teams were founded to prioritize programs across the University that are willing, meaning cuts could be on the way for programs University-wide. Last week’s grants are a positive sign to the community that, while Murray State may be hurting some for money, it is always willing to give to the community in which it is housed.

The advisory council, founded to allocate funds appropriately to benefit projects in the most utilitarian way will meet again Oct. 26 and will entertain additional funding projects. Proposals can be submitted online at murraystate.edu/outreach.

Story by Austin Ramsey, Editor-in-Chief.