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Bloomsburg -- To help students with their professional experience projects while also helping Bloomsburg and other communities in Columbia County, the Bloomsburg University Foundation has established a new Community Impact Fund.

The funding will go toward marketing studies for nonprofits, special town projects, engagements within fields of study, and other activities.

Professional experiences help students apply what they are learning in the classroom, establish a professional network, and obtain career experience in a workplace while working toward a degree. Faculty mentored research or internships, study abroad, creative performance activities, service projects and attending a professional conference are all considered professional experiences.

“This endowment provides our friends and supporters the unique opportunity to support our students and benefit the community at the same time,” said BU President Bashar W. Hanna. “Through these valuable experiences outside the classroom, our students learn more about themselves and the world, further develop their professional networks and career paths, and gain meaningful work experience.”

To help offset some of the cost of participating in these experiences, Bloomsburg University Foundation offers Professional Experience Grants (PEGs). PEGs from this fund are to be used exclusively for projects and/or initiatives supporting community needs within the boundaries of Columbia County.

As part of the fund’s establishment, an allocation committee comprised of five representatives – three from Bloomsburg University and the Bloomsburg University Foundation, one from Columbia County, and one from the Town of Bloomsburg has been formed.

The committee will meet three times a year: two meetings for fall and spring allocations and one for a fund review. Initial work has focused on setting up the process and an online application.

Current fund committee members include Jerome Dvorak, executive director, Bloomsburg University Foundation; Heather Feldhaus, interim associate vice provost for research and sponsored programs, Bloomsburg University; Dan Knorr, director of external and government relations, Bloomsburg University; Bonnie Crawford, Bloomsburg town council member; and Chris Young, Columbia County Commissioner.

The first application period for funding consideration will open June 22, 2020 and close July 31, 2020. Applicants may be internal to Bloomsburg University – students, faculty, and staff – or may be external organizations, non-profits, and businesses.

Professional experience projects for this round of funding are envisioned to be completed within the fall 2020 academic semester. A prepared or existing collaboration between Bloomsburg University students/faculty and a community sponsor is encouraged but not required. Applications are available online at giving.bloomu.edu/impact-grant.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.