Blum Center Student Awards: Alleviating Poverty One Project at a Time


Since its beginning in 2011, the Blum Center UC Davis has supported numerous students in the fight against global poverty through its annual poverty alleviation grants programs. Each year, the Blum Center provides funding to highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students for poverty alleviation work abroad through its Poverty Alleviation Through Action (PATA) and Poverty Alleviation through Sustainable Solutions (PASS) grants. The grants are open to students in all majors and fields interested in conducting research or partnering in service with a non-governmental organization (NGO) abroad to help cover travel and project related costs.

Typical grant recipients have worked with a community in need to address poverty issues in various areas from health to education to engineering and more. Some of the projects funded by the Blum grants include:

  • Construction of a mobile irrigation system by UC Davis engineering students to help farmers in Uganda water their crops more consistently
  • Development of a language training program in Haiti to improve the language education system
  • A study on the impact of mobile banking services on the saving habits of vulnerable women in Kenya 

     To date, the Blum Center has awarded upwards of $245,000 in funding for 101 projects in 25 countries across five continents. The map above shows the breadth of projects the Blum Center has supported since its inauguration.

     During the 2016 application season, staff at the Blum Center were engaged in outreach to increase awareness on campus about the PATA and PASS grants. Most notable, the Blum Center successfully hosted two information sessions on the grants program in January. During the sessions, the Center’s executive director, Lili Larson, gave a presentation about the Blum Center and explained guidelines of the grants programs, as well as details on the application process.

     “I am delighted to see the enthusiasm and interest of our UC Davis graduate, undergraduate, and professional students in becoming real agents of change in a world of so much inequality”, states Lili Larson. “Being in a developing country while implementing a project to alleviate poverty is a life changing experience." 

     During the informational session former grantees also gave presentations on their projects and time abroad to eager students, shown in the picture above. In total, about 45 students attended the informational sessions and many more students have learned of the Blum grants through various forms of outreach in person and via social media. 

people at a seminar


Noelle Patterson (former Blum

PATA grantee) gives a presentation 

in an informational session.


To find out more about the PATA and PASS grants, visit our website at or email us at You can also learn about past grantees and their projects by visiting our blog at or find us on Facebook at UCDavisBlumCenter.