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Recipients of Winning Victories Grants Announced

Launched in January 2018, the Winning Victories Grant program at Antioch College is designed to support alumni initiatives that impact quality of life, public good, social justice, and the environment in local, national, and international communities through three awards: one $50,000 grant and two $10,000 grants. The winners of the first round of Winning Victories Grants were announced at the College’s Reunion gala dinner on Saturday, July 15, 2018. Susan E. Barkan ’78 received the $50,000 grant, and Lynn Estomin ’72 and Anuja Mendiratta ’94 each received $10,000 grants. Susan E. Barkan and Anuja Mendiratta received their awards in person at the dinner. Dennie Eagleson '71 accepted the award for Lynn Estomin, who could not attend. Pictured are Barkan and Mendiratta with President Tom Manley and Karen Mulhauser, Antioch College Alumni Association president.2018 Winning Victories Grant recipients Susan E. Barkan and Anuja Mendiratta with President Tom Manley and Karen Mulhauser.

Susan E. Barkan received the $50,000 grant for a program, called Strive, pilot-tested in Washington State that provides structured coaching to parents visiting with young children to improve the quality of parent-child visits. Coaches meet with parents prior to scheduled visits, observe the visit, and provide feedback to prepare the parent for their next visit. The grant will cover creating an open-source  platform and online, freely available “e-learning” to train new coaches. Its long-term goal is to make the program freely available nationwide for child welfare visitation, adapted and replicated in other communities.

Lynn Estomin received a $10,000 grant for a proposal addressing the needs of veterans who feel isolated and need opportunities to publicly share their stories. The grant will underwrite regional writing and media retreats for veterans, many with PTSD, to train them to document events and create personal digital stories. It builds on a program that has worked with over 5,500 veterans and families, to provide a community of peers with shared experiences, and to highlight marginalized and non-traditional voices of veterans often excluded from mainstream media. Its long-term goal is for the general public to stop thinking the VA will deal with veterans’ issues, and start taking initiative for community re-integration.

The second $10,000 grant award went to Anuja Mendiratta for the “Practical Visionaries” project, which includes a first of its kind anthology featuring the voices, wisdom and stories of 27 women, under three themes: Redefining Environmentalism, Agents of Change, and Legacies of Injustice. The grant will also support participant gatherings, a website and community events. The project ultimately aims to build a more diverse, inclusive, just, and effective environmental movement by increasing the visibility, resourcing, and influence of Indigenous Women and Women of Color in the environmental sphere.

Intended for all types of initiatives, including business, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit, the Winning Victories Grant was envisioned and funded by Antioch College Trustee Matthew Morgan ’99. More than 50 applications were submitted by Antioch College alumni who are creating positive change in their communities and living up to the words of Horace Mann, the College’s first president, by “winning victories for humanity.” The impressive projects submitted in the grant proposals spanned generations, including 2018 graduates of the College, and are a testament to the power of an Antioch College education. A selection committee composed of members of the Antioch College Alumni Association Board of Directors and student, staff, and faculty representatives reviewed applications and chose five semi-finalists to be reviewed and voted on by the Antioch College Community, resulting in this year’s grant recipients.

In a letter of support for Barkan’s $50,000-winning program, Benjamin de Haan, executive director, Partners for Our Children, wrote, “Strive creates an effective, humane, and cost effective approach to parent-child visitation thus addressing a huge gap in services to children and family.” Alise Hegle, advocacy lead in the Office of Policy and Innovation at the Children’s Home Society of Washington, also offered strong support for Barkan’s Stive program. Hegle wrote, “I strongly endorse Strive and your goal to create sustainable systemic change to parent-child visitation within the child welfare system.”

Letters of support for Estomin and Mendiratta also reflect the Antiochian spirit of the College’s alumni: each found that they could create profound change and spotlight marginalized voices through their collaborations. Director of Warrior Writers, Lovella Calica, explained the importance of Estomin’s proposal to work with the organization in her letter of support. She wrote, “There are too few opportunities for veterans and community members to connect in meaningful ways and too few outlets for civilians to access veterans’ stories. This project will change that and win a victory for humanity.”

“‘Practical Visionaries’ not only highlights the work of over two dozen women winning victories for humanity, it is itself a victory for humanity as it invites reflection on how and why these leaders are not being adequately recognized, and specifically creates a framework for building resourced coalitions to directly support their work,” explained Elizabeth Rose Middleton Manning, associate professor, program director, and chair of California Indian Studies in the Department of Native American Studies at UC Davis.

The success of Antioch College and the compelling story of its revival as a new kind of American college is due to the support of alumni, their perseverance, and their belief in the value of an Antioch education. The annual awards from the Winning Victories Grant provide a way for the College to support alumni in return.