Legacy Grants Seek Creative Applications
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:11
With all the bright, ambitious students at Boston College, many could use an extra couple thousand dollars to fund their innovative projects and bring their ideas to fruition.
This was the aim of Drake Behrakis, BC ’86, when he donated $25,000 this year to fund student initiatives at BC.
Last year, Behrakis, a University Trustee, challenged the Class of 2013 to reach its participation goal for the Senior Gift Campaign, promising to donate an extra $25,000 toward student initiatives if 1,300 seniors participated. The Class of 2013 exceeded this goal and set a new record for senior participation, with 1,458 members of the senior class donating, surpassing the previous record of 1,033.
Behrakis’ donation will be split between at least 10 student projects chosen to receive the Legacy Grants. These grants, which will be capped at a maximum of $2,500 per project, will be awarded three times this coming year in January, May, and December. Applicants should decide which period is right for them to apply, based on when they can begin to pursue their project.
The application for the Legacy Grants, which can be found online, was released on Oct. 17, with a due date of Dec. 1 for all funding requests for the January grants. The application is straightforward, and mainly focuses on the nature of the project’s goals and its projected budget, detailing how the money will be spent.
The grant review board is comprised of Gus Burkett, director of the Student Programs Office, Michael Sacco, director of the Center for Student Formation, and Kaitlin Vigars, assistant director of annual giving and BC ’08, as well as four BC students nominated to the committee by faculty and administrators.
Student groups or individuals of all grades can participate, as long as a member of the University staff or faculty sponsors their funding request. Vigars said that 24 hours after the application period launched, the board had already received a number of applications.
“We didn’t want to put too many stipulations on what we were looking for,” Vigars said. The Review Board isn’t looking to fund strictly academic or service projects, but is interested in a variety of ideas.
“We want people to have been thoughtful about what they want to do, and see the project through to the end,” Vigars said. “We want to know what the impact of their project will be, and that the money granted will be well spent.”
Implementing new initiatives such as the Legacy Grants has increased participation in the senior gift by over 200 percent. While 2010 had little more than 700 donors, last year’s participation was more than double that amount.
Because Behrakis donated a fraction of the full $25,000 gift each time the senior class reached a certain participation percentage, students rejoiced more in each success and finally exceeded their goal, winning the full amount allotted for the grants.
“We wanted to get the entire student body involved, if not in the Senior Gift Campaign, then in the impact of it,” Vigars said. “We were looking for a way to teach students about the impact of philanthropy, but wanted to make it more tangible by showing seniors the impact of their donation.”
“These grants enable students to do things they might not have had the opportunity to do otherwise,” Vigars said. She recalled the inspiring story of a BC student who was ready to work in his dad’s business after graduation, but after receiving a University Mission and Ministry grant to do service work in Africa, found his passion and went on to medical school.
“To help thank the Class of ’13, we’ll share the stories that come out of the Legacy Grants, and show that their donation does have a significant impact more broadly,” Vigars said.
Behrakis has already challenged the class of 2014 to exceed the goal of 1,545 participants in this coming year’s Senior Gift Campaign, as a continuation of the Legacy Grants he established this year.
*Correction: This article originally stated that the record number of senior class donors was 1,333. The correct number is 1,033.