Group wants to give students money so they’ll give back

Eric Crawford wonders what students would do if they had a thousand dollars. And he would like to find out how they could use it to help others.

Crawford, chair of the board for Crosswinds – a USF campus Christian ministry – is hoping a new scholarship will help discover that by financially aiding students who are passionate about helping their community.

“Our goal was simply to get all sorts of people together and inspire them to help others,” Crawford said.

To achieve that goal, Crosswinds, a Wesley Foundation as part of the United Methodist Church, and Helping Hands RV (HHRV) Ministry, a Christian organization based in central Florida, developed “The Way Grant.”

Applicants for the grant must be between the ages of 18 and 28 and submit an essay of no longer than 500 words describing how they would use $1,000 to “show love to others in need,” according to the Crosswinds Web site. The grant is targeted to USF students, but other students in the area may apply if sponsored by a USF student or faculty member.

The author of the winning submission will receive a $500 prize, as well as $1,000 to help finance the initiation of the winning essay’s idea to use the money in the community.

Jennifer Smith, executive director of Crosswinds at USF, said the grant is meant to serve as a melting pot of ideas and not to promote any one religion.

“Regardless of religious background, we all believe in being kind and mindful of others,” Smith said. “That was the motive – work on something together.”

Crawford said he hopes this question will motivate applicants to “be creative, have fun and do things to assist others.”

Mark Robinson, president of HHRV, said the money for the scholarship came from an anonymous donation to HHRV and encouraged the group to continue the philanthropic work.

“This was an opportunity for (HHRV) to partner with Crosswinds and find new ways to reach out to people,” Robinson said. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Cory Adkins, student director of the Reach Out Team at Crosswinds – a civil service group for USF students – said he and five to six regular USF student volunteers will assist the winner in implementing their project.

Adkins said the Crosswinds board will judge the submissions, which are due no later than April 15, and declare a winner on April 29.

Submissions can be sent via e-mail to