Women & Philanthropy at UT announces 2013 grant award winners

July 10, 2013 | News, UToday, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Staff

Women & Philanthropy, a volunteer organization that promotes The University of Toledo through investments and grants to UT initiatives, soon will announce that it has awarded two grants for 2013 that total $38,000 in pledges over a two-year period.

The announcement will be made by chair Marianne Ballas at the Women & Philanthropy Summer Social Friday, July 12, to be held at the home of Fran and Dick Anderson, 1833 S. Holland-Sylvania Road in Maumee. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The first grant, in the amount of $15,000, will be awarded to the UT Lake Erie Center to fund interactive computer displays. The center is located on the shores of Lake Erie approximately 15 miles east of UT’s Main Campus. This project will create and install hands-on educational exhibits in the lobby of the center to expand and enhance engagement with members of the University community, K-12 students and teachers, and the public.

Utilizing iPads, touch-screen kiosks and other technologies, the computer displays will present Great Lakes science and research in a fun, interactive and meaningful way. Planned displays include global climate change, ecosystem invaders such as zebra and quagga mussels, algae and other water quality concerns, weather instrumentation, fish species of the Great Lakes, beach health, and a hands-on children’s discovery area.

Meredith Gray, the center’s communications and technology specialist, said, “We are thrilled and honored that Women & Philanthropy at UT has chosen to fund our project. The new educational displays will offer an interactive learning experience for a broad audience, centered on the nature and importance of the Lake Erie ecosystem, and highlighting the UT Lake Erie Center’s excellent scientific research.”

Once completed, the lobby will be named for Women & Philanthropy.

Rachel Lohner, education program manager at the Lake Erie Center, added, “I am excited to see the project come together and transform our lobby into a dynamic educational environment that will increase our foot traffic and allow the opportunity to interact with a diverse audience of visitors through tours, school visits and internships.”

The UT Department of Intercollegiate Athletics also will receive a 2013 grant from Women & Philanthropy. This grant will provide $23,000 to renovate the media room in Savage Arena.

“Our department is truly appreciative to be the recipient of the Women & Philanthropy grant this year,” said David Nottke, senior associate athletic director for development and external affairs. “The grant will allow us to make much-needed improvements to our media room and further assist in our departmental branding efforts. Thank you to the members of Women & Philanthropy for helping this project become a reality.”

The media room is used to host media and news conferences for men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball games, and special events such as football signing day, graduations, concerts, meetings and high school basketball tournaments. The grant will be used for improvements that will include colorful graphic images wrapped around the walls to depict the history and tradition of Rocket athletics.

The objective of this project is to provide the University one of the best media rooms in the Mid-American Conference, further enhancing UT’s image as a major player in the world of college athletics.

“On behalf of the Athletic Department at The University of Toledo, we want to extend a sincere thank-you to Women & Philanthropy for its grant to update and improve our media room in Savage Arena,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics. “This grant will help our department represent the University in a first-class manner.”

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is pursuing naming rights of the media room in honor of Women & Philanthropy.

“The quality of the applications and the level of competition for our grants are outstanding, making the award process both challenging and exciting,” said Nancy Lapp, chair of the Women & Philanthropy grants committee. “We continue to be impressed by the University’s outstanding programs and projects, and we are proud that we can show our support in the form of these awards.”

Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo was chartered in 2006 and made its first award to UT in 2008. Through this giving circle, members of diverse backgrounds and interests work collaboratively and pool their charitable gift dollars to make positive, meaningful and immediate impacts at the University.

In just six years, the group has gifted $214,931 in 10 grants to the University, according to Chris Spengler, director of advancement relations in Institutional Advancement, and member and administrative contact for Women & Philanthropy.

Through their generous support, members of Women & Philanthropy have created a permanent legacy at The University of Toledo, Ballas said.

“Our goal is to unify and collaborate with many women to make a difference at The University of Toledo. These gifts are examples of what we can do with a membership of only 60 women. We invite all women to research our group and consider a membership. Collective and collaborative giving is powerful, and that’s what Women & Philanthropy is all about,” said Marianne Ballas, chair of Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo.

Applications for 2014 grants will be available in late fall.

Additional information about Women & Philanthropy is available at

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