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Community Fund: Brief Implementation Guide

Page history last edited by Trecia Pottinger 4 years, 10 months ago


What is the Community Fund?


The Bonner Community Fund is a very powerful asset of the Bonner Program that students can access to help benefit their service sites and the communities that they work in.  Students have access to funds that can potentially have a long lasting impact on the communities in which they work in.  Programs should view community funds as a tool for capacity building within their communities.  

 

Note: If you’re not sure of the amount of community funds you have access to contact Bobby Hackett at rhackett@bonner.org.

 

Community Fund Structure


  • You should have a Bonner Community Fund committee (or make this a sub-committee of your larger Bonner Program-wide student leadership group).  This group should review proposal submissions, and then pass along their recommendations to the Bonner Director.
  • Your community fund committee can be structured in different ways.  Create a structure that best fits the flow of your program. 
    • For example, Oberlin College’s community fund committee is made up of two representatives from each class, the chair of the committee and the Senior Intern.  One of the Congress Representatives acts as community fund chair. The Senior Intern, who was the chair the year before, plays in the advisory role.
    • At Earlham College, their community fund committee size varies but is usually around 3-4 people.  It varies because all their Bonners have to serve on one of their four committees for at least the first semester.
    • Have another structure you want to share? Post your program example here.

 

Community Fund Process


  • The application and review process should be clear and transparent to students and administrators. 
    • At Oberlin College, they accept fund request at their All Bonner Meeting each month. The committee meets the Sunday after the All Bonner Meetings and reviews the requests.  They vote on how much the student will receive.  Then the chair meets with the Director for a final review of a decision. If granted the chair will then email the student the information. 
    • At Earlham College, their committee meets every week during the semester and accepts proposals on a rolling basis.  When they receive a proposal they come to a consensus when deciding on whether to accept the request or not.  Also the student or students who submit the request must be present during the meeting in order to answer questions that may come about.  Once a decision is made, they contact their Bonner director to confirm and then let the student know of the decision. 
    • Have a unique process that your program utilizes? Post your program example here.

 

Rules for Community Funds


  • We require that students request community funds through some type of application process. If your program creates a standard form it will make the process easier and more manageable.
  • An application should include:
    • Contact information
    • Amount requested
    • Date funds are needed
    • Community partner’s name and agency name
    • Community partner’s signature
    • What specifically will the community funds be used for
    • How will the funds benefit the community
    • Itemized budget with anticipated expense (be as accurate as possible).
      • Have a sample form to share.  Upload the document and link it here. 
  • Have the request application be due at scheduled times of the month  (for example, twice a month, monthly, etc.)
  • This will give your committee a set time to process through applications and also relieve the stress of having rolling request. 
  • Have a maximum request limit.
    • For example, many schools limit the request to $500 per Bonner during an academic year. 
  • Have timelines for the request and use.  For example:
    • Request must be receive two weeks prior to the date the money is needed.
    • When student receives the funds, they must be used within 90 days after receipt of the check.

 

Appropriate Usage of Community Funds


  • Community fund money may be used for the following:
    • Purchasing supplies and/or necessities for Bonner service sites or for a Bonner Program service project
      • For example, Earlham College purchased inexpensive digital cameras for the kids at one of their after school photography classes.
    • Training related expenses (including travel and registration expenses for conferences and workshops)
      • For example if students wanted to request money for the IMPACT Conference, National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness or RESULTS International Conference etc., it would be appropriate.
    • We recommend that you put a limit to the amount of funds that can be used for training.

 

Inappropriate Usage of Community Funds


  • Community funds may NOT be used for the following:
    • Donations to projects or agencies that don’t have Bonner Scholars/Leaders or other students from your institution directly involved.
    • Travel expenses to and from service sites
    • Expenses related to the general administration of the Bonner Program (e.g., printing, food and drinks for meetings, travel, phone, supplies, equipment, salaries, etc.)
    • Expenses for Bonner meetings
  • If you have any questions about whether a particular student request for Community Fund support is allowable, please contact staff at the Bonner Foundation.

 

Follow Up on Community Funds


  • You are required to track the usage of Bonner Community Funds each semester via BWBRS. 
  • In addition, you should verify community fund spending by requesting that students who receive funds:
    • Provide an itemized budget when requesting funds and also an actual expense sheet after the funds are used
    • Provide receipts of ALL expenses.
    • Submit a brief summary of how the funds helped with their project or organization and also provide a picture or documentation, where relevant.
      • For example, one student paid for t-shirts for a language program in the elementary school and sent electronic pictures of all the children with the shirts and a cool thank you card all the children signed.   The student who wrote the grant sent a brief write up about why she thought it was important to have the t-shirts. 

 

Promoting Community Funds


  • It’s important to motivate your students to use the community funds. If your program creates a solid structure (i.e., a community fund committee and application process) then students will be increasingly interested in using the community funds. 
  • Some strategies to make community funds more of a viable resource to your students are:
    • Educate your students on community fund.
    • Set up community fund workshops to jog students’ ideas on ways they can use the funds to positively impact the community.
    • Talk about community funds during All Bonner Meetings, Class Meetings, etc. 
    • Promote community funds through creative projects or marketing.  For example, students can have a community fund class challenge where they have to come up with a service project for a variety of community partners using the community funds. 
    • Make using Community Fund an priority of your program
    • Set the effective use of community funds as an expectation for your program. Let students know that they have a resource that has the capability of being a very valuable catalyst to their service sites and communities and it would be a great waste to not use it.

 

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