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Longtime Westar Members Elsie and Alvin Dunn Offer Third Challenge

Westar has had the good fortune of successfully matching two proposed grants from the same anonymous donor. The first was an $80,000 matching grant designed to retire Westar's outstanding debt with the matching monies going to the unrestricted support of the Institute's operations. Then a second was offered to provide grants to scholars who are presenting papers at Westar Fall and Spring meetings. This $15,000, 2 for 1 challenge was focused on compensating for the cut in travel funds experienced by many Westar scholars. The $30,000 matching monies will go to support Westar operations. This match was successfully met at the end of December.

Inspired by the news of other matching grants, long time members Elsie and Alvin Dunn called at the beginning of December 2013 to say they would like to offer a matching challenge grant of $15,000. Both the grant and the matching monies would be unrestricted, but they agreed to Westar's proposal to focus on the monies on the expenses related to launching three seminars within an eighteen-month period: These are the Christianity Seminar, the God Seminar—The State and Future of a Big Question, and the reconfiguring of the Bible Seminar to focus on the Bible in America. The hope is to complete this third match by the Spring meeting in March 2014.

Elsie Dunn grew up in Malasia and Alvin in South Korea. They have participated in various Westar meetings and JSORs throughout their more than fifty years living in Southern California. Alvin has a special interest in neuroscience and religion.

"It is impossible to underestimate how vitally important these three grants are to the success of Westar as we move through this thirtieth year since our founding," said interim executive director Lane McGaughy. "I know Bob Funk would be absolutely delighted that his dream continues to flourish and inspire cutting-edge scholarship. This is largely because of friends like the Dunns, who are willing to step forward and invest in Westar's mission."

Help us meet this third challenge!