Wall Alumni Service Award Application and Selection

Due date(s): 

Application Contact Person:  Doug Cutchins
Application Contact Information:  cutchins[at]grinnell[dot]edu


Wall Alumni Service Award applications must be completed electronically. Please email all elements of your application as Word or PDF documents to Doug Cutchins, cutchins[at]grinnell[dot]edu, by 5:00pm (central time) on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. A completed application will consist of the following elements:

  • An application form. This is a PDF document that may be completed using Adobe Acrobat Reader. When you have completed the form, click the button that says "submit by email" in the top right-hand corner. This will forward the data in your form to Doug Cutchins, who will convert it into the form before forwarding it to the committee.  If you cannot get this system to work, you may email this information directly to Doug; please pay close attention to the limited space allotted for the project synopsis.
  • project description of no more than 10 pages (single-spaced) which addresses the questions and issues listed below. Each question should be addressed and clearly labeled, preferably by including the question that you are answering before your response.  The committee recognizes that Wall Award projects and their descriptions may differ substantially from one another, so you may reorder or combine these questions as need be.  However, all questions must be addressed within your 10-page project description.  In general, the committee recommends that you use about three pages to answer the first question, and one page or less to answer each of the remaining questions, but this is merely a suggestion and not a guideline.

a) Provide a detailed description of your project and a brief work plan. Be as specific as you can.

b)  A brief profile of the organization(s) involved in the proposal, including basic information such as the year it was founded, mission statement, summary of staff, and size of the annual budget. 

c) Why is this project important to you?

d) What goals do you hope to achieve?

e) When do you anticipate your project will begin, and when will it conclude?

f) Describe in detail your qualifications to undertake this project.

g) How does this project relate to your own experiences?

h) Discuss your financial needs and detail other sources of support (if any). What alternative sources of funding are you or have you pursued?  What are other long-term possible sources of support? 

i)  What percentage of your budget is earmarked for salaries, stipends, and/or benefits?  Wall Award funds may be used for these purposes, but the committee is interested in knowing exactly how much will go towards this area. 

j)  As applicable, what is the relevant research that supports your proposal?  Though this is not a research brief, the committee is interested in any academic work that supports your model.

k) How will you document your accomplishments?

  • Proposed project budget (for the duration of your project proposal)
  • Grinnell College transcript if you are a current year graduate or a graduate of the last five years.
  • letter of support from your sponsoring organization (if appropriate)
  • A minimum of three and a maximum of six letters of recommendation. Letters should address your ability to carry out your proposed project, and, as applicable, the importance of your project. Letters received after the deadline will not be considered.

All applicants should follow these submission guidelines, except that all documents may be single-spaced. Letters of recommendation and support may be emailed directly to cutchins[at]grinnell[dot]edu or may be included in the application materials submitted by the applicant. They can be typed into the body of an email, or attached as Word or PDF documents. By submitting an application for the Wall Alumni Service Award, you are attesting that the information provided in your application and project description is a good-faith representation of what you wish to undertake, and that you will use the grant awarded to you for the purposes detailed in your application. All applicants are expected to adhere to these ethical guidelines.

Interviews, Notification, and Payment of Award funds

Interviews of selected candidates who are named as finalists will be held annually on the first weekend following the college's spring break, except when this weekend conflicts with Easter or Passover. In 2014, interviews will be held April 4-6. The Wall Alumni Service Award committee will pay for domestic travel costs to Grinnell for this purpose. Finalists who cannot travel to campus because of distance or other reasons will be interviewed by phone or videoconference. Finalists will be announced in early- to mid-March. All finalists will be notified of the committee's decisions on Monday, April 7. The awards will be announced publicly at the Alumni Assembly during Reunion weekend in late May or early June. For 2014, the committee expects to award two Wall Alumni Service Awards, each of which will be for a maximum award amount of $25,000. Wall Awards are paid in two installments; the first in April or May 2014, and the second after the recipient has submitted a mid-project report to the committee by a mutually agreed-upon date.

Please note:  Wall Award funds are sent directly to the alumni who receives the award, and may be treated as taxable income.  Wall Award recipients may themselves donate the award to a non-profit agency, and in doing so may reduce their tax liability.  If requested, Grinnell can pay the award in two halves in 2014 and 2015.  All applicants for the Wall Award should consult with a tax professional to determine how receiving this award would impact their individual tax picture.  Wall Award recipients may hold part of the award in reserve to offset any additional tax payments, but the plan to do so should be noted in their Wall Award budget. If the alumni who receives the award has non-resident tax status in the US, Grinnell College is required to withhold 30% federal tax unless the award is exempt under IRS tax code or a tax treaty.

Selection Criteria

In selecting finalists and award winners, the committee takes into account the following criteria:

  • Does the proposal further the program's goal of providing a tangible benefit to others?
  • Does the proposal include a clear and realistic plan of implementation?
  • Are the goals for the proposed project realistic and achievable?
  • Does the proposal include a clear and realistic plan for evaluation and reporting on results?
  • Does the applicant's background indicate the ability to carry out the project and achieve its objectives?
  • To what extent would a Wall Service Award help to create a new program, or add something new to an existing program, that might not be possible without the award?
  • To what extent would a Wall Service Award help to create an ongoing program that will survive beyond the period of the award?
  • To what extent will the applicant be personally involved as a principal of the project?

2014 Committee Members

Members of the Wall Alumni Service Award Committee for 2014 are: 

  • Cynthia Amezcua '14 (Student Representative)
  • Trish Anderson '80 (Trustee Representative)
  • Ann Campbell '62 (Mayor of Ames, IA)
  • Kathy Jacobson (Associate Professor of Biology)
  • Wayne Moyer (Professor of Political Science)
  • Rebecca Mwase '07 (2010 Wall Alumni Service Award recipient)
  • J. Scott Raecker '84 (2001 Wall Alumni Service Award recipient)
  • Marian Saksena '93 (Attorney)
  • Eliza Willis (Professor of Political Science)
  • Lesley Wright (Director of the Faulconer Gallery)

Award Administration

All potential applicants are strongly encouraged by the Wall Alumni Service Award Committee to contact Doug Cutchins '93, the Wall Alumni Service Award administrator, to discuss their project before submission. 
Doug Cutchins '93 (1996 Wall Alumni Service Award recipient)
Assistant Dean and Director of Post-Graduate Transitions
(641) 269-4408
1127 Park St. Grinnell, IA 50112