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Elevator Grants

Over $100,000 in Elevator Grants are Awarded at 8th Annual NACCE Conference

New Matching Funds Element Helps Winners Boost Awards

Springfield, MA – Nov. 1, 2010 - Nine community colleges from across the nation came away from the 8th Annual Conference of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) with a total of $107,400 in possible funding from Elevator Grants provided by the Coleman Foundation, a private, independent grantmaking foundation whose interests include entrepreneurship education.

Elevator grants are small grants targeted to specific projects. Targeting specific projects, and not general operating support or capital, encourages new initiatives and allows the funding impact to be more easily identified. Each winning school received a base grant of $7,500, totaling $67,500 granted to the nine colleges. Then, this year for the first time, entrants were encouraged to generate financial support from entrepreneurs in their communities by December 1, 2010. The Coleman Foundation will match these funds up to a maximum of $5,000 per college, meaning the individual schools were eligible to receive as much as $12,500 from the foundation.

"The matching funds aspect of this year’s competition was quite exciting,” says NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle. "Encouraging the grant seekers to obtain financial support from their local entrepreneurs adds a strong element of entrepreneurialism to the grant process. The winners did a terrific job at this as can be seen by the matching funds they earned.”

Here’s a run-down on the projects of the winning schools and the amount of matching funds they are eligible to receive:

  • Dakota County Technical College (MN) will hold a two-week "BizTech Academy" that will link nanotechnology, innovation and entrepreneurship education. Matching funds $2,500. Project Director: Lisa Bah
  • Metropolitan Community College (NE) will develop 20 faculty champions for entrepreneurship from across campus to embed entrepreneurship concepts into their classes. Matching funds: $4,900. Project Director: Heather Nelson
  • Northern Wyoming Community College (WY) will offer workshops and newsletters to assist entrepreneurs to capitalize on opportunities in the local tourism economy. Matching funds: $2,500. Project Director: Karen St. Clair
  • Lorain County Community College (OH) will provide assistance in business start-up to "adult transition" students returning to college after years out of high school. Matching funds: $5,000. Project Director: Erin Corwin
  • Jamestown Community College (NY) will provide SBDC technical assistance to military veterans interested in starting or expanding a business. Matching funds: $5,000. Project Director: Irene Dobies
  • The Flathead Valley Community College (MT) will implement a seminar series providing entrepreneurship skills to independent construction professionals. Matching funds: $5,000. Project Director: Christopher Hanchett
  • Jones County Junior College (MS) will develop and implement its first entrepreneurship courses and curriculum. Matching funds: $5,000. Project Director: Finée Ruffin
  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College (MN) will establish a regional incubator to assist in growing new businesses in a local community. Matching funds: $5,000. Project Director: Beth Pridday
  • Montgomery County Community College (PA) will offer consulting services in Accounting, Law, Marketing and Technology to new and existing community entrepreneurs. Matching funds: $5,000. Project Director: Amit Singh

Grant winners will post monthly blogs during the coming year at on the progress of their programs. The blogging program, which has been done for the past two years with previous grant winners, provides valuable information to college considering undertaking similar programs.

About The Coleman Foundation

The Coleman Foundation is a private, independent grantmaker focusing primarily on supporting Midwest non-profit organizations.Foundation resources support cancer care, treatment and research, developmental disability services, and entrepreneurship education. In 1981, the Foundation began to question why individuals are encouraged to "get a job” rather than to "create” one.Since that time, the Foundation has committed over $46 million to improve the quality of entrepreneurship education, promote the option of self-employment, and help create a new generation of business owners.

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