West Virginia Grant Resource Centers help secure more than $33 million in grant funding

HUNTINGTON, MORGANTOWN, WV – West Virginia Grant Resource Centers (Grant Centers) Co-Founders Sara Payne Scarbro, from Marshall University, and Liz Vitullo, from West Virginia University, today celebrated a major milestone in helping clients secure more than $33 million to support their economic, workforce and community development projects. Through competitive grant writing, facilitation support and project development, the Grant Centers’ staff supports projects that vary in size and scope across West Virginia. This month also marks the halfway point in the three-year Grant Centers initiative.

“We have amazing staff members who are working hard to produce a 20-to-1 return on investment (ROI) for the people of West Virginia,” Payne Scarbro said. “We are bonded by our love for the Mountain State and an unwavering commitment to our communities. This Universities United partnership would not be possible without the financial support of our wonderful partners – the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the West Virginia Governor’s Office and the West Virginia Legislature. We appreciate their leadership and vision in helping make the Grant Centers truly a national model.”

Since launching in January 2023, the Grant Centers have assisted clients in developing and submitting 159 competitive grant proposals and Congressionally Directed Spending Requests. All 55 West Virginia counties have been directly engaged with or impacted by the Grant Centers’ efforts.

“We are thrilled at the results thus far, and what we are most excited about is watching the ripple effects of the grants and the impact on our state,” Vitullo said. “Specifically, we are excited at the jobs created, the initiatives launched, the businesses started, the people trained, the improvements in infrastructure and so much more. All these efforts will have an incredible multiplier effect. We are honored to be part of it.” 

In addition to pre-award technical assistance services, the Grant Centers’ team has hosted 18 in-person and virtual Grants 101 trainings, 33 Live Grant Assistance Sessions (LGAS) webinars and three microcredential courses through Marshall University and West Virginia University.

“ARC is proud to support the West Virginia Grant Resource Centers,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Not only will their work have sweeping, generational impacts on West Virginia’s economy, but the distinct partnership between Marshall University and West Virginia University exemplifies the type of regional thinking and collaboration that should serve as a model for the entire Appalachian region.”

To date, the Grant Centers’ outreach efforts have touched the lives of more than 2,000 West Virginians, enabling the Grant Centers to increase the state’s grant writing capacity.

“This program has been an incredible resource for the people of West Virginia,” Governor Jim Justice said. “This is the perfect example of pulling the rope together. We know these funds are significantly improving our communities, and taking advantage of every opportunity is important beyond belief. I am so grateful to both Marshall University and West Virginia University for leading this program. Through this amazing collaboration, we are creating a brighter future for West Virginia.”

West Virginia State Senate President Craig Blair (R-Berkeley) said, “I’m thrilled to see what the Grant Resource Centers have accomplished in such a short time. Our state’s universities are the lifeblood of our communities, and this service is paying dividends for so many people who need the specialized help and training needed to apply for these grants and requests.”

West Virginia Speaker of the House of Delegates Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay) also acknowledged the Grant Centers’ efforts. “This is exactly one of the roles we need our state’s universities to play, and that is providing services for the many folks who don’t have the capacity to write these grants themselves,” said Hanshaw. “They’re doing a magnificent job, this milestone is great proof of that already, and something to celebrate.”

The Grant Centers are a partnership between Marshall and WVU that provide free grant writing and training support to West Virginia communities and other eligible applicants as they compete for local, state, federal, and private funding opportunities. For more information about the Grant Centers’ services, upcoming events, or resources, visit www.wvgrantcenters.com.