MECC, Slemp Foundation Announce Grant Awards for Wise, Lee K-12 Teachers, MECC Instructors


Big Stone Gap – The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation, through funding provided by the Slemp Foundation, is pleased to offer the MECC Slemp Foundation Mini-Grant Program for K-12 Teachers in Lee and Wise County as well as instructors at Mountain Empire Community College.

The goal of the program is to nurture career pathways in STEAM-H fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Agriculture, Mathematics, and Health) for K-12 and college students for a better understanding of post-secondary career options. Up to ten, $1,000 grants will be awarded to K-12 teachers in Wise and Lee County (10 grants available per county). Grants applications and funding will be available annually in August 2023, August 2024, and August 2025. These grants may be used to purchase equipment, educational materials, or support research that will benefit student learning.

In addition, ten $1,000 grants will be awarded to MECC faculty to support equipment and instructional supplies for existing programming. Teachers can be very creative and will be able to identify a wide array of activities and resources to meet the goals of the project. Examples may include gardening opportunities for lower elementary students, stream studies and water quality analysis for upper elementary and middle school and electrophorese studies for high school students.

According to Dr. Jack Rhoton, MECC Foundation Board Member, these grants will provide additional resources for K-14 teachers to create innovative learning environments to engage students in deep learning. Students will have opportunities to design investigations, share ideas, develop explanations, and argue using evidence. Rhoton highlighted the importance of nurturing students, beginning at an early age, in active learning and the role it plays in creating a passion for post-secondary career pathways.

“The Slemp Foundation is pleased to be able to participate in this mini-grant program,” said Slemp Foundation Trustee James Smith. “C. Bascom Slemp believed in the power of education and we are happy to provide our educators with assistance in this endeavor. We are also pleased with our long-standing partnership with Mountain Empire Community College and the many ways this partnership assists the citizens of Lee and Wise Counties.”

Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis and will be judged on their potential to design and facilitate age-appropriate career awareness and engaging activities. The application process for mini-grants will require each teacher recipient to provide at least a one or two-page description of the project, which will address the following elements:

  • What is the project’s goal or research question
  • Project abstract summary
  • Goals and deliverables/relevant literature support
  • Implementation plan
  • What data collection and/or analytic techniques will be used and how will the outcomes of the project be assessed/evaluated
  • A detailed budget

Each teacher mini-grant application should include a cover page consisting of the teacher(s) name, school name, school address, grade level/subject taught, email address, school phone, project title, and a two-hundred-word project abstract. To apply for funding, teachers are encouraged to visit The deadline for applications is Wednesday, September 20, 2023. Notifications will be made to award recipients in early October.

For more information on the MECC Foundation, visit For more information on the Slemp Foundation, please visit