Abbot Association to Grant Funding to Support Projects

Countless students enjoy the entertainment provided by “Dance Dance Revolution” in the Ryley room, the CDs in the record library, and other resources on campus, but few know who provides for these enhancements to student academic and residential lives. Since its inception 30 years ago, the Abbot Grant Association has at least partially funded hundreds of independent and group projects to optimize the social, educational, and residential experiences of Phillips Academy students, staff and faculty. Abbot Academy Grants have funded many institutions on campus, including Graham House, and the Summer Opportunities Office. Abbot awarded funds to the (MS)2 program to help promote it to high school guidance counselors and teachers. The Mathematics and World Language departments received funding to publish new textbooks and workbooks. Student-run organizations have benefited from the program as well. Abbot Academy gave the school’s male and female a cappella groups, the Yorkies and Azure, the resources to record and produce their own CDs, and Pot Pourri purchased new cameras with funds. Abbot Grants also sponsor guest speakers and performers for All-School Meeting, the Summer Session Music Performance Program, and last week’s Black Arts Weekend. The Abbot Academy Association was established in 1973 as part of the merger agreement between Abbot Academy and Phillips Academy. Its goal has been to preserve “the traditions and spirit of Abbot Academy through new educational ventures” in a coeducational school, according to Committee Chair Natalie Schorr. Money for the grants—which amount to a total of $250,000-$3000,000 per year—originally came from the Abbot Academy endowment. The Association’s budget started at $1 million and now has a funding of $7-8 million. If a student or faculty member has an idea to enhance the lives of their peers, he or she can submit a proposal, summary, and estimated budget to the Abbot Grant Association for approval. The Abbot Academy Association’s board is composed of 11 alumni directors, all of whom have an equal vote. “I’ve been impressed by the decision-making process of the Abbot Academy Association board members. The board members are feisty, smart, independent, rigorous, and caring and they often seem to enjoy a lively and interesting argument before reaching a consensus,” said Ms. Schorr. While the board goes through a rigorous process in selecting the grant recipients, the members gravitate toward projects that are not likely to happen without the funding. “Typically, someone will have a good idea for improving the educational program in some way and then realize that the idea can be made a reality through an Abbot Grant,” said Schorr. Abbot Academy grants have traditionally been given to faculty, students, or staff to study an exploratory approach to education. “Innovation and creativity, projects that have exposure to a large piece or the whole community are of particular interest,” said Liz DeLucia ’85, the Abbot Association President. Some proposals only request a couple of hundred dollars, while others ask for a few thousand. Over the years, the Abbot Grant Association has funded many integral additions to the Academy. This year, for the first time, proposals, summaries, and estimates can be submitted electronically. Students must submit proposals for the Spring Term by Tuesday, April 4. The Grant Committee will be on campus May 11 and 12 to make the final decisions on the recipients.