Funding roundup

The Varia family presented a $15,101 gift to the East Kentucky Science Center and Varia Planetarium.

In Kentucky, Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) met its youngest donor in school history. Eight-month-old Laila Rani Slone Varia joined her family to make a $15,101 donation to the East Kentucky Science Center and Varia Planetarium. The gift will ensure that every elementary school and middle school student in the county can visit the East Kentucky Science Center and Varia Planetarium during the academic year.

The planetarium is named in honor of Laila’s great grandfather, the late Mahendra Varia. He served as a member of the board of the Big Sandy College Educational Foundation, Inc. and was a member of the Martin City Council from 1998 until his passing in 2014.


Aims Community College secured a $30,000 grant from the Daniels Fund to provide scholarships for non-traditional students, returning military and people pursuing careers in the emergency medical field. The scholarships will primarily help students receiving training in the college’s paramedic programs.

“Timing could not have been better to assist students interested in emergency medical service programs as the job outlook in this field is very promising,” Aims President Leah Bornstein said in a press release.


Miami Dade College (MDC) was recognized with a $160,000 grant for a MDC Live Arts  initiative. “Ojalá/Inshallah: Wishes from the Muslim World” is a season-long project designed to challenge assumptions concerning contemporary Muslim identity. MDC will promote Muslim and MENA artists through performances, residencies, campus-based conversations and community workshops.

The grant comes through the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s (DDFIA) Building Bridges 2016-2017 Grants Program. The goal of the program is to advance relationships, increase understanding and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities nationwide. MDC is one of only eleven organizations nationwide to receive the Building Bridges grant.


Oakton Community College will add two new courses thanks to a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. The grant, worth $98,957 over 30 months, funds “People, Place, and Purpose: Fostering an Understanding of a Complex World,” an interdisciplinary collaboration to enhance the college’s new environmental studies concentration.

The two new courses will include a summer field experience for students to help them understand how the natural environment links with art, literature, religion, philosophy and music in a variety of cultural settings.


Centralia College received a $189,000 grant from Centralia Coal Transitions and $151,000 in matching funds from the state’s Department of Commerce to construct a 56-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of it library.  The low-maintenance, roof-mounted system will produce more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours of energy in its 30+ year life. The PV system will save more than $200,000 during its life and will generate half of the electricity needed for the library.

“This project supports the college’s sustainability goals and will be a point of pride for the college and the community,” said Steve Ward, vice president of administration, in a press release. “It will also provide an opportunity for learning with the internet-tied monitoring system that allows the public to see the net energy production and consumption of the facility.”

About the Author

Tabitha Whissemore
Tabitha Whissemore is a contributor to Community College Daily and managing editor of AACC's Community College Journal.