The Murray State University Nonprofit Leadership Studies program has presented the 2020 Giving Back Endowment Grant Award to the Murray Art Guild Community Art Center in recognition of its long-term success in youth development across the community.
The Murray State University Nonprofit Leadership Studies program has presented the 2020 Giving Back Endowment Grant Award to the Murray Art Guild Community Art Center in recognition of its long-term success in youth development across the community.

MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Nonprofit Leadership Studies program has presented the 2020 Giving Back Endowment Grant Award to the Murray Art Guild Community Art Center in recognition of its long-term success in youth development across the community.

The MAG (Murray Art Guild) is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting arts enrichment. Established in 1967 when several like-minded community members provided a place where artists could create art as well as exhibit and sell their work. The goal has always been to provide arts programs for local youth and adults in a range of mediums, hosting year-round exhibitions, housing community studios and providing an art market.

The grant is made possible by the Murray State University Giving Back Endowment, which is dedicated to advancing the understanding, appreciation, and application of the principles of altruism, generosity, caring, and service to others. The Student Engagement Initiative provides an opportunity to operate a comprehensive grant making process while studying “giving, philanthropy, and grant making”. 

The students conducted a community needs assessment and identified youth development as the focus for the grant award this year. Collaborating with the local CUBS (Community United Benevolent Society) leadership, local organizations were invited to apply for the grant.

Applications were reviewed with the following types of guiding criteria: the scope and scale of youth development programming, the qualifications and experience of the volunteers and staff, and financial health and sustainability. After extensive deliberation and thorough review, the MAG was selected in recognition of its commitment to youth development. Students praised the application and the critical youth development work being done by the organization.

Sam Coatney from Goshen, Kentucky, said, “Their application was just so solid and well thought out. They were about as transparent as can be with the opportunities they were given, while demonstrating alignment with the Giving Back Endowment and our commitment to positive youth development.” 

Zach McCarver, from Jackson, Tennessee, said, “I believe that the Murray Art Guild will use the funds most effectively and have a significant outcome that works towards the Giving Back Endowment’s goals and mission. Impressively, they are steadily putting on programs and helping people even through COVID-19.”

Shelby Skaufel of Owensboro, Kentucky, wrote in her review that “seventy-five percent of the Murray Art Guild programs focus on young people and many of the programs not specifically designated for youth still include youth among the participants. The youth programs have a positive impact on the lives of those who participate in them. Children are able to have personal growth in a safe and accepting space, which is very important for any community.” 

Dalton York from Benton, Kentucky, wrote that “the Murray Art Guild has a long-term formal partnership with Murray State that has a tremendous impact on the future of art pedagogy in the region and the commonwealth. Those preparing for careers as art teachers connect with MAG, strengthening the programs they offer and giving Murray State students real-world experience in art education. Through this work MAG is having a positive impact on thousands of students over the ensuing generations.”

The award was presented on November 10 to the MAG leadership. They received a framed certificate, an inscribed copy of Dr. Joel Orosz’s “The Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking”, and a $3,000 check from the Giving Back Endowment. Present to receive the award were MAG intern and Murray State student Shelby Skaufel, Assistant Director Brittney Stuart Falwell, Director Debi Henry Danielson, and Murray State student, Department of Art and Design and Board of Directors member Jasmine Groves.

Debi Danielson said, “Murray Art Guild is thrilled to receive the Giving Back Endowment Award. It has been a pleasure to work with Murray State students in the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program throughout the grant process, and this year we are especially honored. Most often grants applied for have a direct relationship to our field of expertise, in our case, the arts. To receive this award ‘in recognition of commitment to promoting youth development by advancing the principles of altruism, generosity, caring and service to others’, is particularly meaningful. The arts play a vital role in culture and community, and we are proud to be a part of the Murray and Murray State University community. We are grateful to the students and faculty that made this possible.”

“The Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program depends on the dedicated support of community organizations across the region as they provide exciting opportunities for our students to engage in their creative and challenging work. A special thanks goes out to the nonprofit organizations that submitted applications for the award, allowing the students to have a high quality real-world grant making experience.” said Visiting Distinguished Professor of Nonprofit Leadership Dr. Bob Long. “The students worked really hard in comparing the applications to the Giving Back Endowment principles. They leave the experience ready to effectively engage in the grant making on behalf of improving the communities they serve throughout their careers.”

The Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program is a part of the Department of Organizational Communication and Leadership which is dedicated to “develop student competence in the application and synthesis of those communication processes, theories and skills that enable individuals and groups to organize effectively in an increasingly complex and global society.” As a part of the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, the department and program are committed to advancing careers in dynamic environments of leadership and management.

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