One of the highlights to emerge from meetings of IU’s Council of Regional Engagement and Economic Development (CREED) earlier this year were revised eligibility guidelines for its Regional Economic Development (RED) fund.
Established in 2010 by IU’s Office of the Vice President for Engagement, CREED offers a university-wide forum to address regional economic development issues. Dialogue among CREED members identifies ways that IU can bring its resources and expertise to bear to advance the state’s economy.
One such resource is the RED Fund. It provides cost-share grants of up to $2,500 for qualifying proposals submitted through regional campuses. Since 2011, more than $40,000 in RED Fund support has been awarded to 21 projects at seven IU campuses. Examples include:
- The Kokomo CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Experiences) program aimed at Howard County high school students. It is partly supported by a RED Fund grant pursued by the Office of the Chancellor at IU Kokomo.
- Helping small businesses in northwest Indiana develop a cost-effective social media strategy. This seminar series supported in part by a RED Fund grant sought by the School of Business and Economics at IU Northwest in Gary.
While the RED Fund once required applicants to provide a 100 percent match of the grant money awarded, the new model allows a minimum cash match of 25 percent combined with up to 75 percent of allowable in-kind contributions such as services, materials or other donations.
“With the help of RED Fund proceeds, these programs have been effective, but we are willing and able to support even more of them,” said David Gard, CREED’s vice-chair.
“By reducing the matching requirement to 25 percent and allowing various in-kind services, we hope that leads to increased RED Fund participation. If you have a program that can benefit the local economy and they require some financial support, the RED Fund may be the answer. The more programs we have that are backed by the RED Fund, bigger difference in terms of stimulating the economies that surround our regional campuses.”
Examples of in-kind donations include: office or classroom space, meeting space rentals, use of utilities or other facility costs, use of equipment, staff and administrative support, volunteer services, discounts, donated supplies/materials/services, food or food preparation/set-up/cleanup, summer internships, student jobs, third-party contributions/sponsorships or personnel time committed to a project.
Proposals that qualify for RED Fund support are reviewed by CREED representatives before awards are issued.