Haiti grant initiative lacks grants

Biola’s Haiti Initiative Grant Committee has yet to receive any grant proposals despite a Friday deadline.

Shanley Knox, Writer

Biola’s Haiti Initiative Grant Committee has yet to receive any proposals for Biola’s Haiti Initiative Grant, despite the initiative’s rapidly approaching April 16th deadline.  
“I think it’s more complicated than students thought,” said Michael Anthony, vice provost for Academic Developments and Effectiveness. 

The initiative is the beginning of an effort, both on the part of Biola University and Biola alumni at Saddleback Church to aid students in integrating their ideas with ministries overseas.  

“This is the beginning of a comprehensive partnership, along with what our pastor, Rick (Warren), calls a three legged stool,” said Steve Rutenbar, relief pastor at Saddleback Church in California. “On one side, you have a non-government organization, on another side a university like Biola and on a third side a church, like Saddleback, working together.” 

The Haiti initiative appears to typify the three-legged stool that Rutenbar speaks of. Saddleback Church has agreed to use their contacts and presence in Haiti to team up with Biola University for the purpose of using the talents and gifts of students to aid organizations working on the ground.  

Saddleback’s peace relief coordinator Donald Herr said he hopes that the grants will cause students to work with local churches in Haiti.

“Unless a non-government agency has made a commitment to a country, they won’t be there for the long haul,” Herr said. “But the church always will. The church has the greatest distribution network, the best volunteer network, and the best grassroots connections…the government can fail and the church will still be there.”

Anthony said that the university’s choice to partner with Saddleback has enabled them to provide students with contacts and networking capabilities that they would not otherwise have. 

“If you have a heart to get involved but don’t know what organization to funnel that through, we will provide you with that,” Anthony said.
The initiative centers on a grant given by a donor contacted by Greg Leith, director of business and corporate relations at Biola. The donor was specific in his desire that the grant be used to further sustainable projects for the people of Haiti. Students are not permitted to use any portion of the grant for their personal travel expenses.
However, the initiative does not require students be present in Haiti for carrying out their proposal. The funds are to be divided between 10 students, who will be given up to a $5,000 grant towards implementing their approved proposal for microeconomic work in Haiti. 

Anthony said that Dr. Barry Corey was the one who came up with the idea of implementing microeconomics into the requirements for student’s proposals.  

“Dr. Corey wanted students to be able to use their training at Biola, together with their passion for serving Christ, to provide for long term, sustainable, income-providing ventures that would benefit the people in Haiti,” Anthony said.  

Students approved for the Haiti initiative grant will be given an applicable amount of funding to be used in a manner Anthony describes as “microcredit.” This means that the money given to students will be loaned, rather than given, to a community of people in Haiti for the purpose of creating projects that can be developed into a sustainable income. The loans will be given to a group that will be held accountable by one another to paying back the money given to them at a reasonable rate.  

Anthony said the intent behind the loans is to discourage entitlement while promoting sustainability. 

“You create an entire mindset of entitlement,” Anthony said. “‘You’re a rich American, I know you are, give me money, food and water.’ But what that doesn’t do is give them self-esteem.” 

In order to ensure that the money given out to students is used solely for the benefit of the people of Haiti, projects are required to be in partnership with, and read over by, a local church ministry or a relief agency in Haiti. They also must include the involvement of someone on the ground in Haiti to provide ongoing support and direction for the project, where applicable. 

Projects will be evaluated by the Haiti Initiative Grant Committee based on the nature of the proposal, correspondence with a chosen church or organization, proposed budget and a letter of reference.  

Anthony said that if there are not enough applications turned in by Friday, the committee will contact the grant donor to find out whether he would like to extend the deadline in order to allow more time for students to present more viable projects. His hope, however, is that students are using all of the allotted time to finish their projects and will be turning them in on Friday.   

0 0 votes
Article Rating