Funding Innovation and Diversity

By Blake Hicks

Through its mission to educate, empower and inspire women to be philanthropic leaders, the Alliance of Women Philanthropists creates opportunities for faculty and students to craft solutions through innovative thinking.

The Giving Circle, created by the Alliance in 2007, has provided more than $650,000 in grants to more than 70 programs and research endeavors throughout the University of Tennessee System.

The 2021 grant recipients represent five projects and $43,000 in private support that will advance and diversify scientific research and medical training as well as expand ways to support students and employees.

1. UT Chattanooga Multidisciplinary Materials Characterization Laboratory Equipment

Funding Awarded: $10,500
This proposal is aimed at the acquisition of a high-magnification trinocular microscope AmScope ME600TZC to meet multidisciplinary research and educational needs at UT Chattanooga. The microscope will offer advanced capabilities for faculty to probe the microstructural characteristics of new materials and train students in material characterization techniques through their courses and research projects.


2. UT Chattanooga Scrappy’s Cupboard Food Pantry Expansion

Funding Awarded: $6,000
The grant will be used to fund freezer and refrigerator units for Scrappy’s Cupboard, the on-campus food pantry, to provide free cold and frozen food items to student and employee users. Additionally, the grant would allow Scrappy’s Cupboard to partner with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga’s Mobile Market for weekly campus visits to provide low-cost perishable food items not otherwise available.


3. UT Martin Paleontology for All: Promoting Women & Underrepresented Participation in Geosciences

Funding Awarded: $16,200
To provide early exposure opportunities for underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math and geosciences in particular, this program will use the UT-Coon Creek Science Center for high school students to participate in science. Participants will produce short YouTube videos of their personal research fossils to be used to help future visitors as well as serve as volunteer docents to share what they have learned.


4. UT Chattanooga Using Communities Science and Telemetry to Study the Dispersal of Dasypus Novemcintus

Funding Awarded: $8,183
The nine-banded armadillo is rapidly extending its range throughout the Eastern United States. As this species quickly adapts to inhabit new ecosystems, there is a need to study what factors affect their dispersal. The study will be the first to determine how forest density and canopy cover influence habitat selection and movement of the species and also help determine how to limit the damage caused to other animals, crops and lawns.


5. UT Martin Implementing Diverse Race and Ethnic Identity in Simulations in Nursing Care

Funding Awarded: $3,000
This project will implement an appropriate diverse race and ethnic identity simulation to foster culturally competent nursing care in the clinical lab simulation setting. The grant will help purchase racial and ethnically diverse simulated manikins for nursing students at UT Martin to prepare for real-world experiences.


More information on the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists can be found at