Alabama International Relations Club

The Mission

It is the mission of the Alabama International Relations Club (AIRC) to involve students of the University of Alabama in communication and cooperation across political, cultural, and economic borders in order to foster cooperation and create leaders for today's globalizing world.

Additionally, the organization strives to

1) foster the education of members and the community, particularly as it relates to international issues and cultural awareness,

2) develop members into capable professionals and leaders in an ever-changing and increasingly connected international environment,

3) impact the University of Alabama's campus, the greater community, and world through service and engagement, and

4) cultivate community amongst its members and between the citizens of the world.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

AIRC plans to collaborate with the local community to address issues that affect the city, state, nation, and world by educating students about the problems of today and equipping them to affectively address them through Model United Nations.

"There are innumerable global issues today. Yet there are not innumerable programs that challenge youth to question the status quo and do something about it. Model United Nations teaches students about the international issues captivating our attention today through simulations of the United Nations and other similar bodies, where students are challenged to take on the role of a policy-maker and create solutions. Not surprisingly, students oftentimes are better at finding solutions than are the people with the real power to make a difference, and Model United Nations empowers the students that participate in it to do more and demonstrates that collaboration is possible."

AIRC sees a real need to address the issues dividing the nation and threatening the world today, and the BBDI program does this at the most local level through its empowerment of youth in impoverished areas. They would use this partnership with the BBDI program to reach its full potential and for many communities and individuals to be positively impacted as a result.

Best Buddies

The Mission

Best Buddies is an international organization dedicated to ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The University of Alabama chapter is one of the largest in the United States with over 200 active members. The UA branch connects students with individuals in the community with IDD. Each month, Best Buddies has a unique main event, which can range from painting to sports. Buddy pairs attend this party and then hang out one-on-one with their buddy throughout the other weeks.

These one-on-one friendships are the cornerstone of Best Buddies. They offer social mentoring while improving the quality of life and level of inclusion which can be difficult to find on a day to day basis.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

Best Buddies plans includes making changes to something established - they want to change the world.

"There are over 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While there are programs that aid components of these individuals lives, there is nothing like Best Buddies. Fostering lifelong relationships isn't easy, and this state office will change how we interact with our communities for years to come."

Crimson Tide Ballroom Dancers

The Mission

The purpose of this association is to promote interest in ballroom dancing and the development of ballroom dancing skills, as well as to provide opportunities for ballroom dancing.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

CTBD believes that "dance is a great way to unite people of different backgrounds" and through the Igniting Innovation grant, this organization would love to bring together more of Tuscaloosa County and integrate community and the arts.

The Andrew McDonough B+® Foundation

The Mission

The Andrew McDonough B+® Foundation was created to honor a 14-year-old star -- on and off the soccer and baseball fields. He bravely battled leukemia with his "Be Positive" attitude and B+ blood type, never leaving the hospital for 167 days, and earned his spot in heaven in July 2007.

The B+ Foundation spreads Andrew's positive attitude and zest for life and has changed the way thousands of families relate to each other.

In 2016 alone, The B+ Foundation helped 2,200 families and provided 14 grants, making it the largest known provider of family assistance to kids with cancer nationwide.

The mission of The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation is to address the following objectives:

1) Provide financial assistance for families of children with cancer nationwide. The B+ Foundation is one of the largest providers of financial assistance to families of kids with cancer in the United States.

2) Sponsor research to find cures for childhood cancers and improve treatment options. The B+ Foundation has provided research grants to institutions such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (TN), Duke (NC), Dana Farber Cancer Institute (MA), Seattle Children's Hospital (WA), Children's Oncology Group, and the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research (DE) and more.

3) Keep the “B+” (“Be Positive”) message alive through outreach efforts, talks and advocacy in Washington D.C for more funding for childhood cancer research. Share the lessons that Andrew taught us, including: have fun, set goals and try your best, show affection, and be comfortable with yourself. Also channel a “Live Like Andrew” lifestyle by having faith, making time for our loved ones, keeping our lives in perspective, and appreciating our blessings.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

"The B+ Foundation is different than most medical fundraising organizations. We have the privilege of directly providing money to families which sets us apart because most other organizations simply raise money that gets put towards research or hospitals but no one ever really gets to see where the money goes. Our Family Assistance Program and plan is innovative because it is mutually beneficial. It is a blessing to the families receiving the money but it is also amazing for the organization's members to have the opportunity to see how the money they are raising is directly helping families in our own community."

The B+ Foundation has helped families across the country -- financially and emotionally -- as they care for their child with cancer and have committed over a million dollars to children's cancer research in the hope that soon no family will go through the loss that Andrew’s family has.

University of Alabama Dance Marathon

The Mission

The purpose of UADM is to raise funds and awareness for Children's of Alabama, the children's hospital in Birmingham. The staff and miracle makers work year round to raise money for the kids that are treated there. UA students also work on campus to make other students aware of the needs that the hospital has.

The year ends with a 12-hour standing event where volunteers, participants, families and everyone in-between dance, sing, play games and activities and fundraise. UA students invite families and kids from the hospital to come and join in on the fun. The Main Event is meant as a celebration of everything UADM has done throughout the year while also recognizing all of the fundraising efforts.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

"Our whole organization is innovative. In 7 years we have gone from not existing to a well-known campus organization looking to raise $500,000 for UADM 2018. Each year we must bring new ideas, skills, and resources to raise more money than the year before. Last year we had a goal of raising $300,000 and we raised $340,000!"

Every year the organization pushes its boundaries and goals in order to make as big of an impact on UA's campus as possible. The grant would allow UADM to focus on creating and executing innovative ideas without worrying about how to make it happen and where to get the financial resources from.

UA Young Americans for Freedom

The Mission

The goal of UA Young Americans for Freedom is to provide students an opportunity to engage one's self in both the political world and to promote Conservative values on campus. Of these, the UA chapter strives to promote the values of free speech, a strong national defense, guaranteed individual rights, religious liberty, and a variety of other "freedom" related topics. The organization seeks to educate people, through seminars, conferences, speaking engagements, and in on campus activism, and considers it to be the premiere political organization for young conservatives.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

While there are many political groups on campus, something that makes the UA Young Americans for Freedom unique is the fact that members are both non partisan and seek to directly engage all students on campus. UA Young Americans for Freedom sees this grant as an opportunity to provide a platform to let their voices be heard.

"It's our organizations belief that being able to reach across the aisle and understand other perspectives is a crucial aspect of society, and it is in our goals hopes of being able to advance free speech that we hope to be able to spread this idea on campus. The school does not have a current history of speaking events being held on campus, such to the point that we truly feel it would be beneficial to host open forums for people to challenge each others ideas."

Al's Pals Afterschool Mentoring Program

The Mission

Al’s Pals is a one-on-one mentoring program serving elementary school students in the Tuscaloosa community. Programs take place after-school from 2:45-5:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and the current sites include Matthews Elementary, Maxwell Elementary School, Englewood Elementary, and Benjamin Barnes YMCA.

Mentors commit to serving one afternoon a week for at least a semester, and mentors help their mentees complete homework, reinforce reading and math skills, and facilitate enrichment and recreational activities. Each academic year, Al's Pals have over 1,000 college students serve as mentors and student leaders within the organization, and approximately 27,000 hours per academic year are served.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

Access to higher-education opportunities and experiences for low-income students is very limited. Many elementary schools in the Tuscaloosa community do not have the resources to bring their students to college campuses and expose them to higher education opportunities.

"We hope to incorporate innovative technologies from the engineering department, including EcoCar and 3D printer demonstrations, into the campus tour so our mentees are exposed to current innovative work occurring on UA’s campus."

Thus, the field trips that this grant would fund may also be some elementary school students’ first experiences on a college campus, despite living so close to many higher-learning institutions.

Alpha Mu Omega

The Mission

Alpha Mu Omega was founded upon the principle of being excellent, by doing excellence. Whether in the academic realm or the everyday world, members of Alpha Mu Omega strive to be great.

Students at The University of Alabama already aim for greatness in their academic careers, but Alpha Mu Omega members strive for more than purely academic success, but rather success as civilians of society. The members of the Greek-letter organizations all take pride in being a part of the strong Greek system at The University of Alabama.

Until Alpha Mu Omega, there has not been the opportunity for the members of the Greek system to come together under the principles of dedication to the community. Together, members of Alpha Mu Omega make a difference inside and outside the classroom. Alpha Mu Omega is founded on five key pillars: resourcefulness, civic responsibilities, helpfulness, accountability, and academic awareness. By combing these ideal characteristics, AMO's members can help not only the community but themselves as well.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

Alpha Mu Omega hopes to bring college students together to advocate for the betterment of the community while leading a helping hand. 

"We are the first Alpha Mu Omega to exist not only at The University of Alabama but in the nation. We have been on campus for three years and our chapter has grown exponentially. We started with a small group of about 20 to now over 100 people. We are original in the fact that we are the beginning. We want to look back in the future and see other campuses create Alpha Mu Omegas."