Advise for Seeking Local Funding to Attend NACCS Conference

by Julia E. Curry Rodríguez, Ph.D.- Executive Director, NACCS

As we prepare to host the 2024 Annual NACCS Conference in San Francisco, we want to share advice to folks who seek funding to attend.  NACCS is a member supported organization which relies upon dues and conference registration to host an annual conference in support of Chicana and Chicano Studies and all of the scholars who aspire to our academic pathways (students, community researchers, teachers, faculty, and academic professionals). NACCS does not have a budget to provide grants, funding, or economic resources to members and newcomers to attend the conference.  Here are some thoughts about how you might seek funding from your local community (institutions, clubs, organizations)

For students and non-students who submitted proposals and who are accepted to present at the conference the place to begin seeking funding is your own institution.  Most departments, units, and community-based employment offer some kind of professional development assistance. 

 For students who submitted proposals and who are accepted to present at the conference and live more than 100 miles from the conference site, we offer the opportunity to apply for a NACCS Student Presenter Conference Fellowship (one night at the conference hotel).  Students also have the opportunity to submit a research paper (as graduate and undergraduate students) to the Frederick A. Cervantes Student Premio.  We give two Cervantes Premios, one for a graduate student and one for an undergraduate student for outstanding research papers.  The Cervantes recipients present their papers at the annual conference Student Plenary and receive a cash prize of $350.00.

Every campus and many institutions (non-profits, schools, and other agencies) have centers and offices that can support individuals to engage in professional development through regular applications.  Many efforts might include meeting with directors, deans, provosts or other leadership/supervisory individuals.  Possible offices might be a College Dean or Association Dean, the Chair of your Department, the Director/VP of Student Affairs, or Academic Affairs leadership, a Graduate Dean/Office.  You may wish to start with your own department Chair/supervisor, advisers and professors.

To prepare for such a meeting begin by developing a paragraph about why you should be supported to attend the conference (tell them about NACCS) , how attending will support your academic and professional pathway.  Second, make up a budget that includes the following:  Membership dues, conference registration, travel, lodging, and meals.  Indicate on the budget what you can pay yourself.  I usually find that paying your membership (students at 30.00for undergraduate and 40.00 for graduate students) is usually something you can budget in your own finances- and most importantly shows your potential supporter that you have a commitment to NACCS.  If you submitted a proposal to present at NACCS, use that proposal to help you seek funding (provide the reader a copy).  Universities often ask for proof of professional development and the conference peer reviewed presentation is the golden mark.  Keep records of the paper, the program where your name will/appears in the conference and write something about the professional networking you engaged/will engage in at the conference).

Many universities and other institutions respond to a well-crafted request letter for professional development.  We encourage you to begin your statement with something about yourself and why NACCS is an academic organization which supports your endeavors.  To start your effort to find support go to your campus known supporters (people you already know).  Ask your professors, department chair, the dean, VP or Dean of Student Affairs, and your campus Student Government office – they always have discretionary funds which can be accessed by students through their regular financial assistance programs.  Explore funding options at your campus.

For University Students:  Regardless of type of institution you attend, most universities have budgets to support professional development to attend conferences whether you present on the program or not.  Institutions often advertise willingness to support students in their professional development on their websites and through announcements.  If asked, many offices might be able to help and to provide other campus leads to help you succeed in finding financial support to attend NACCS.

Student professional development is important to all academic institutions.    In your request letter, write a compelling reason to them about why they should support your attendance to NACCS as a means of addressing nationally recognized numbers of minorities in higher education.   “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) efforts and Hispanic Serving/Minority Serving Institutions Status require proof of support to minority faculty, staff, and students – professional development is one excellent opportunity to show this support.  Help your universities and colleges to showcase you in their endeavors.  Tell them your story. Offer to host a talk about your experiences at NACCS, and invite others to become familiar with the national and regional chapters (Focos) and Caucuses.  

Almost every region of the U.S. has a footprint of someone who has seen and used the NACCS conference, its newsletters, and programs to help build their programs/departments of Chicana and Chicano Studies so that Chicana/o/x people can thrive.  If you are involved in your local Foco, you might be able to request support from them – or offer to engage in fundraising activities in the Foco to help others attend the conference.  If you are not involved, contact them and find out if others in your region, at your campus might want to attend the conference and develop fundraising strategies together.  As Executive Director of NACCS I often get messages from students who employ a variety of efforts to raise money to attend the conference – and when they don’t meet their goal, they often ask for contact with students in other regions who might be willing to share lodging, or other resources.  Students do everything from having food sales, to seeking professional development funds from their campus student government office, using their clubs to seek resources for professional development, and finding professors to support their efforts.  Reach out locally and to the groups in which you are already involved.  Let them know your aspirations and see if they might be able to provide resources or even to join you in attending NACCS.   Offer to do recruiting at the conference – graduate offices are often willing to pay your travel and lodging.  Offer student affairs to serve as publicity for their offices.  

How we can help you:  Reach out with questions, and if you need an invoice for payment of your dues and/or registration, contact me at: and I will help you.  

Fall 2023, Vol. 49 No. 1

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