Yale Daily News

The Yale College Council launched the Yale Collaboration Fund last Wednesday, a new fund designed to increase support for events that are planned by three or more on-campus organizations.

Prior to the initiative, student groups — even those working with others — applied for events funding through the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee, UOFC. That body distributes around $350,000 dollars each year, but according to UOFC Director Mohammad Makhmudov ’21, the application process becomes more complicated when several groups are involved. In response, the YCC created the fund, dedicating $100,000 to support collaboration between undergraduate organizations.

“As UOFC Director I wanted a more streamlined application tailored specifically for collaborations,” Makhmudov wrote in an email to the News. “We also hope to encourage more groups to link up and engage with each other in meaningful ways in the future by funding these collaborative events.”

The funds for the initiative come from a UOFC budget surplus after the University increased funding for the committee this academic year. The committee puts these funds toward cross-collaboration between groups, as 30 percent of UOFC funding applications typically come from multiple groups seeking funds on one joint project.

The YCC announced the initiative in an email to the student body on Wednesday. The email billed the YCF as being ideal for events and projects that “don’t fit neatly within the scope of a single organization.” The email also specified that YCF grants will be larger than standard individual UOFC grants on average.

The original idea for the YCF came after YCC Student Life Director Karen Li ’22 met with all of the cultural center heads last semester. According to Li, she learned that many of their affiliated student organizations do not have enough funding to host events, so the fund could help groups attain money to host programs together. According to YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21, events coordinated by the cultural centers often tend to involve many student groups than other campus organizations. As such, they struggled under the funding model to find finances for such large-scale initiatives.

“A lot of [cultural center events] are revolving around student groups coming together, getting to know one another and sharing culture,” Greene said. “And there is a perennial problem with not having enough funds or enough resources to be able to do this and do it at its full extent. So hopefully, the Yale Collaboration Fund will allow student groups to be able to come together and put on things that they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”

Greene said commemoration of Black History Month would entail a series of programs which would benefit from the YCF. In honor of Black History Month, the Afro-American Cultural Center, La Casa Cultural and the Native American Cultural Center are putting on a series of events centering on blackness, indigeneity and Latinidad. Greene said that YCF funding is intended to help encourage such events.

Brian Reyes ’21, the co-president of the Dominican Student Association, is currently leading a broad initiative to foster collaboration between over 10 organizations associated with La Casa, the Afro-American Cultural Center and the NACC. Reyes said that the YCF will be critical to the work that he is doing.

“I think cultural center organizations can produce really fruitful and insightful work when we’re thinking about the linkages between the cultures, countries, and histories that we claim,” he wrote in an email to the News. “Our initiative has a lot of moving parts since it involves several organizations planning multiple events, so the YCF will be very helpful in that it offers us a single pool of generous funding to access in order to support our work as a whole.”

The YCC will give out grants in two waves. Applications for the first round are due on Feb. 12, and applications for the second round will be due on March 25.

Amelia Davidson | amelia.davidson@yale.edu