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Sandra Walker's grant proposal brought $15,000 for a BDPA youth program from The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia.
The Richmond, Va., chapter of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) has been awarded a $15,000 cash grant by The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia, to help support the BDPA-Richmond's successful High School Computer Competition program. The money will be used to send 40 Richmond-area students in grades nine through 12 to a national computer skills competition at BDPA's National Conference, which will be held in Philadelphia this August.
The Community Foundation is a major steward of fund raising and charitable giving in Richmond. With combined assets of more than $400 million, it is one of the largest grant makers in the state.
BDPA member Sandra Walker, Electronic Data Interchange manager for the Defense Commissary Agency at the Department of Defense, wrote the successful grant proposal. She says it was no easy task.
"I was thrilled that we were selected, but it took a lot of time to do it," she says. "The grant-making process is highly competitive, and The Community Foundation is the top funding organization in Richmond. So there was a lot of pressure to get it right."
BDPA-Richmond members volunteer their time to train students in numerous technology disciplines, including Java Script, database technology, Web design, and presentation skills. Forty area students currently attend classes on Saturdays from March through July at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College's downtown campus. The school donates two classrooms equipped with 20 computers.
The bulk of the $15,000 grant will be used to send the students to BDPA's national conference, where they will participate in a youth program, including a National Competition.
The best five students from each BDPA chapter across the nation will compete as a team to design a Web page and use the other IT skills they have learned during the training program. BDPA will award a $1,000 national scholarship to each member of the winning team. The Richmond chapter is giving a $500 scholarship to each of the other student participants, regardless of where they place.
Walker tells USBE Online the Richmond chapter hopes to expand the program beyond 40 students in the future.
"Eventually, we hope to have a center that will accommodate more students, but we need space, equipment, teachers, and volunteers to make that happen," she says.
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