Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund 2016 Matching Challenge

11 bill raynor

03 OCT 2016

A fundraiser for the Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund took place in Honolulu on September 4 at the East West Center. It was a gathering of people who knew and loved Bill and they sang songs, told stories and shared memories – celebrating his life on the year anniversary of his passing (September 1, 2015). A total of $39,500 was raised in honor of Bill Raynor (February 22, 1957 – September 1, 2015), Director of The Nature Conservancy Pacific Division, and his 34 years of conservation work in the region. The Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund will support emerging leaders across the region. Bill worked with the Micronesia Conservation Trust to establish the Fund in 2015, and it is his last loving legacy to the islands and people he served and championed throughout his life.


As a longtime resident of the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Bill learned the Pohnpeian language and earned a Pohnpeian honorific title Soumadau en Pei ni Eng Eihr—the Lord of the Altar of the East Wind—for, among other deeds, growing giant yams and being a true Pohnpeian master agroforester. In 1992, he helped launch The Nature Conservancy’s program in the FSM, focusing on innovative, community-led conservation and building partnerships. His inspiring leadership, deep commitment, and passion for innovation were critical to the success of groundbreaking initiatives at every scale—ranging from sustainable agriculture practices for local villages to international agreements to protect biodiversity. Bill lived life, including his end of life, on his terms—fully, with love, and with a commitment to others and to the world.
Awardees of this prestigious scholarship will receive support to earn graduate degrees while receiving close guidance and mentorship from leading entities and individuals within the Micronesia Challenge (MC) partnership, including the peer learning networks Micronesians in Island Conservation (MIC) and the Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC). As a sponsor and founding member of MIC, Bill was committed to identifying and nurturing conservation champions in Micronesia. MIC focuses on building the capacity of conservation leaders and their institutions/organizations, while PIMPAC focuses on building the capacity and skills of conservation practitioners and technical staff tasked to work with governments, NGOs, and communities to develop and implement conservation management and monitoring programs.
Two students from the region will be selected through a competitive process, with each receiving up to $30,000 per year for two years for successful completion of a master’s program and three years for successful completion of a PhD. We are limiting this program to just two students per scholarship round in order to provide the mentorship, guidance and support required to ensure their success. We will also help place them in permanent positions when they graduate. To keep them “close to home”, so that they can continue to participate in Micronesia Challenge activities during breaks and remotely, scholarship winners will be required to study at universities in the Pacific Region (i.e. University of Guam, University of Hawaii, University of the South Pacific, Universities in Australia, New Zealand and Japan).
The alumni of the scholarship program will form a cadre of new leaders, who will meet annually in association with the MIC network. This will allow the alumni to continue to be mentored by conservation champions around the region and grow as leaders, who will in turn serve as mentors for new scholarship winners.
To support these students, our target goal is an endowment fund of approximately $1.2M dollars, generating an estimated 5% in earnings annually. This will support two full time students at $30,000 each per year. The Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund is housed at the Micronesia Conservation Trust and will be invested as a sub-account within the Micronesia Challenge Endowment Fund.
During our global cele-bration of Bill’s life through December 2016, gifts to the endowment will be matched by a generous $20,000 grant from an anonymous donor.
There is an online fund-raising site featuring this scholarship and this site serves as a mechanism for making donations to the fund.
You can visit the site at https://www.generosity. c o m / e d u c a t i o n - fundraising/bill-raynor-micronesia-challenge-scholarship-fund