App State grant writing class raises $35,000 for local nonprofits

BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University students enrolled in the Spring 2023 "Grants for Non-Profits" course applied their grant writing skills and raised a total of $35,000 to support two local nonprofit organizations, RAM's Rack Thrift Shop and Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture.

"Grants for Non-Profits" (IDS 3450) is offered by the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) as part of the minor in non-profit organizations and is open to students in any major. In the course, students gain a broad understanding and practical experience researching, identifying and writing grants for non-profit organizations through collaborative projects with local organizations. Carol Coulter, instructor in the departments of IDS and Sustainable Development and co-owner of Heritage Homestead Goat Dairy in Ashe County, teaches IDS 3450.

"The best way to learn how to write grant proposals is to actually write grant proposals. Timing and ready projects determine who we write for. The non-profits make a presentation, the students work in teams and do a bit of research and then write and rewrite their proposals. Once they are ready to present, the proposals are sent to the non-profit we are working with for final edits and submitted," explained Coulter.

"Over the past 5 semesters, students have been successful with at least 17 grant applications. We have been awarded grants for Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, F.A.R.M. Cafe, Habitat for Humanity Music Empowerment and RAM's Rack," she added.

As a result of a grant proposal written by students in the Spring, RAM's Rack Thrift Shop was awarded $25,000 from The Cannon Foundation. The Cannon Foundation was established by the President and CEO of Cannon Mills Company, Charles A. Cannon, and funds capital and equipment projects for organizations across Cannon's home state of North Carolina.

RAM's Rack, sponsored by Resort Area Ministries (RAM), works with Hospitality House and the Department of Social Services to provide aid to community members moving into housing by providing them with a voucher to shop for everything they need, including furniture. Once the items are selected, staff deliver them and help set up the new housing.

Using the funds from The Cannon Foundation, RAM's Rack will repaint the building's exterior and replace the windows and doors with more energy-efficient glass, which will reduce heating and cooling costs.

Another local non-profit, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA), was awarded a total of $10,000 thanks to two proposals written by IDS 3450 students. The funding will support BRWIA's chapter of the Blue Ridge Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) by providing stipends to farmers who host workshops and training opportunities on their farms and paying for materials, snacks and transportation.

The Clabough Foundation contributed $8,000 to BRWIA. The Clabough Foundation reflects the interests of the Clabough Family in their mission to preserve and enhance the environmental and cultural resources of North Carolina and Oregon. The foundation emphasizes environmental stewardship, education activities, arts and culture, social services and community-based programs that create a positive change in their communities.

The additional $2,000 was awarded to BRWIA by The Watauga County Community Foundation, a collection of philanthropic funds awarded to support local needs.

Congratulations to the students in the Spring 2023 "Grants for Non-Profits" course on the success of all three of their grant proposals!


About the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in four program areas: Appalachian studies; gender, women’s and sexuality studies; global studies; and interdisciplinary studies. The department is also home to Watauga Residential College, an interdisciplinary, alternative general education program. The department promotes creative and imaginative engagement through a cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems. Learn more at

About the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University prepares students to thoughtfully analyze human development while focusing on the applied practice of pursuing transformative, community-driven development and social change. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in sustainable development with concentrations in agroecology and sustainable agriculture; community, regional and global development; and environmental studies; as well as a Bachelor of Arts and minor in sustainable development. Learn more at

By Lauren Andersen
July 12, 2023

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Appalachian State University
Published: Jul 12, 2023 4:40pm