Rust lands $1.5M grant from The Kresge Foundation


Special to the Advocate

HOLLY SPRINGSRust College was recently approved to receive a $1.5 million challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation toward the construction of the new Hamilton Science and Mathematics Center and the renovation of McDonald Science Hall.

“This is a gift of faith in Rust College’s legacy of scholarship and service,” said Dr. David L. Beckley, president. “With this grant, The Kresge Foundation is ensuring that students receiving degrees in chemistry, computer science, mathematics and biology from Rust College will do so in state-of-the-art facilities that will enable our graduates to continue to have a significant impact on their communities in the 21st century.”

The foundation’s primary grantmaking tool is its Challenge Grant Program. It is designed to assist nonprofit organizations as they work to strengthen leadership and financial support through challenge grants for capital projects. The challenge grant supports the construction and renovation of facilities, the acquisition of property and the purchase of equipment. The grant to Rust College is under the Foundation’s Challenge Grant Program. The college is required to raise $650,000 to claim the $1.5 million from the Kresge Foundation. Beckley said he is confident that the college’s alumni, friends, and other foundations will aid in meeting the challenge within the next 12 months.

Kresge’s support represents the college’s most ambitious project of all time. Cutting-edge for the Rust College campus, the three-story, 18,000 square feet science center will feature a greenhouse, animal research rooms and additional research laboratories for math, computer science, chemistry, physics and biology. The building will open in spring 2008 after 18 months of construction.

“We applaud Rust’s commitment to providing a quality education to a diverse and underserved population,” says Rip Rapson, president of The Kresge Foundation. “We hope this gift offers access and opportunity to disadvantaged college-age students; to serve as a safety net and aid in the revitalization of distressed communities. We are proud to help advance this very important work at Rust College.”

In 2006, the foundation approved 230 grants throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, totaling $152 million.

Kresge Green Building Initiative works to advance environmental conservation – sustainable building practices, environmental stewardship and sound land-use planning – by awarding planning grants to support the integrated design process for green renovation, historic preservation and new construction.

The Kresge Foundation has supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities since 1966. A five-year, $18 million HBCU Initiative that began in 1999 worked to strengthen the advancement capabilities of five institutions. The Kresge Foundation has also supported nonprofit organizations in 29 States and the District of Columbia, with a total award of $45.5 million.

The Kresge Foundation is a private foundation that supports communities by building the capacity of nonprofit organizations in six fields: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services, and community development. Sebastian S. Kresge established the foundation; it is not associated with any corporation or organization.

Nine values serve as the centerpiece of the foundation’s grantmaking: creating opportunity, community impact, institutional transformation, risk, environmental conservation, innovation, collaboration, underserved geography and diversity. Through the application of these values, Kresge gains a holistic understanding of the nature and impact of an organization’s work.

Rust is a 142-year-old liberal arts, private, United Methodist Church-supported institution serving more than 1,000 students coming from throughout the United States and seven foreign countries. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Mississippi State Department of Education. The Social Work Program holds accreditation with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).