Community Valuing Community: UWG’s CDI Earns $10K Walmart Grant

Colton Campbell

Monday, June 11th, 2018

The University of West Georgia will launch an initiative aimed to make the campus and community at large even more welcoming and inclusive, thanks to a recent $10,000 donation from the Walmart Foundation.

The donation – coming from the retail giant’s Spark Communities Program – will benefit UWG’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The Walmart Foundation has donated more than $153,000 to UWG in the past 10 years, supporting several colleges and broader university initiatives. Through this program, the Walmart Foundation supports organizations that create opportunities for improving the quality of life for others.

The gift was revealed during a presentation at the facility earlier this year.

“We are elated and grateful for the opportunity to launch our Community Valuing Community project to make our community more inviting and welcoming for everyone,” said Deirdre Haywood-Rouse, director of diversity education and community initiatives for the CDI. “This generous donation will allow us to have more challenging, honest and caring conversations with stakeholders in our community to affect real change for our students, faculty and staff.”

The project will give CDI representatives the enhanced opportunity to work with a core group of engaging partners – including downtown business leaders, civic partners, student leaders and other community stakeholders – in a collaborative, structured planning process. The project will allow for training and coaching opportunities and community-wide events, such as a featured speaker series.

“The cultural nuisances inherent to our diverse student and faculty body provide tremendous opportunities to build partnerships and relationships that will be mutually beneficial to UWG’s populations and our communities at large,” Rouse said. “This grant will allow for deeper conversation with meaningful, infinite outcomes. We’re looking forward to investing our part in this valuable joint endeavor.”

UWG’s CDI, a unit within the president’s division, has several components, including numerous student organizations, such as the Black Student Alliance; the Multicultural Achievement Program; and Lambda, the university’s LGBTQ student organization.

Dr. Yves-Rose Porcena, the university’s chief diversity officer, said the CDI helps all students with their transition into, and ultimately their success at, UWG by building relationships through cultural, educational and social events and programs.

“CDI also opens doors for those students not coming from a minority or disadvantaged homelife by offering opportunities to develop intercultural skills,” Porcena said. “For many of our students, college might be the first time they have interactions with someone who differs from them. We help students – and employees – obtain the skills to successfully navigate a diverse environment. Employers seek graduates who are able to succeed in a diverse world with good interactions and engagement skills, especially across differences.”

The Walmart Foundation SCP strives to award grants that have long-lasting, positive effect on communities across the U.S. In the last fiscal year, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $54 million in cash and in-kind contributions throughout the state of Georgia.

To be considered for support, prospective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation SCP’s online grant application. To receive certain grants, organizations must be invited to apply. Eligible applicants must have a current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum funding criteria.