At the present time, the Coleman Foundation accepts grant proposals by invitation only. Since we are in the beginning stages of development, the Foundation will concentrate initially on generating its own programs while conducting research to identify potential future projects that are aligned with the Foundation’s mission. Unsolicited grant requests will not be accepted at this time.

A few of the projects in which we have been involved:

  • Helped fund a participant in HERO’s (Human Efforts Reaching Out) mission to Honduras, June 2016.
  • Helped fund an undergraduate student work trip volunteering in the village of El Obraje, Nicaragua, May 2016.
  • Sponsored a participant in HERO’s (Human Efforts Reaching Out) mission to Nicaragua, 2014.
  • Matching grant for undergraduate service project supporting an orphanage in Luxi, China, 2015.

The Thomas Henry Tibbles Fellowships Project

In 2019, the Foundation created an award for outstanding alumni, current students, and faculty of the University of Mount Union engaged in border crossing. The award is called the Thomas Henry Tibbles Fellowship and is named in honor of a former Mount Union student.

A number of years ago when researching the early days of Mount Union for a convocation presentation, I came across the name of Thomas Henry Tibbles (b.1840). He appears in Yost Osborne’s A Select School: the History of Mount Union College. In a few short sentences, Osborne introduced Tibbles as a Mount Union student (1858-1861) who had been active in the anti-slavery movement since the age of 16. Tibbles was associated with the abolitionist John Brown who, you will recall, raided a U.S. military arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in October 1859 to steal weapons to arm slaves for a rebellion. Brown was caught, brought to trial, accused of treason, and hung.

Although Tibbles did not accompany Brown on that ill-fated raid, he did associate with Brown and also rode with another famous abolitionist known as James Henry Lane during several anti-slavery skirmishes in Kansas in the year 1858 – just months before he enrolled at Mount Union.

Upon further research, I discovered that Tibbles led a rather active life as not only an abolitionist, but later as an activist journalist and a crusader for the fair treatment of American Indians.  From the Smithsonian Online Archives:

            Thomas Henry Tibbles was born May 22, 1840, near Athens, Ohio to parents William and Martha (nee Cooley) Tibbles. In 1856, at the age of 16, Tibbles fought with anti-slavery Free-Staters in the Bleeding Kansas conflicts under James Henry Lane. Lane’s troops disbanded the same year and Tibbleswent on to study at Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio from 1858-1861. During the Civil War Tibblesserved as a scout and newspaper correspondent in Missouri and Kansas and   continued newspaper work until 1871 when he became a circuit preacher. Between 1874 and 1879, Tibbles worked on the staffs of various newspapers in Omaha, Nebraska eventually reaching the post of assistant editor of the Omaha Daily Herald. It was during his time at the Herald that Tibbles was instrumental in bringing the case of Standing Bear and the Ponca Indian people before the United States District Court at Fort Omaha. Standing Bear, along with thirty other Poncas, had returned to their home in Nebraska after being forcibly removed to Indian Territory 1878. They were being detained at the Omaha Reservation on an order from the Secretary of the Interior and Tibbles began to circulate the story of the plight of the Ponca ‘to major newspapers gathering the support of the public. Eventually Tibbles had attorneys John L. Webster and A.J. Poppleton help Standing Bear petition the court with a writ of habeas corpus. On April 30, 1879 Judge Elmer Dundy declared that an Indian is a person within the law and that the Ponca were being held illegally, setting Standing  Bear and the Ponca free. Following the trial, Tibblescontinued to report on violations against Native American rights. Tibbles was a witness to the aftermath of the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1891, and reported this tragedy to the world. From 1893-1895, he worked as a newspaper correspondent in Washington D.C. On returning to Nebraska, Tibbles became editor-in-chief of The Independent, a weekly Populist Party newspaper. He was the Populist Party nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1904. Though unsuccessful in this campaign Tibbles continued to write on Populist issues as well as editing The Investigator from 1905-1910 and returning to the Omaha World Herald from 1910 to his retirement., Smithsonian                                                    Online Virtual Archives

The above mentions an important newspaper story Tibbles filed in which the world first learned of the unspeakable tragedy that had occurred at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation, SD, on December 29,1890 — where Chief Big Foot and anywhere from 150-300 plus Lakota Sioux were massacred by the U.S. military. His 1891 article titled  “All Murdered in a Mass” appeared in the Omaha World-Herald and read in part:

Nothing I have seen in my whole… life ever affected or depressed or haunted me like the scenes I  saw that night in that church. One un-wounded old woman… held a baby on her lap… I handed a  cup of water to the old woman, telling her to give it to the child, who grabbed it as if parched with   thirst. As she swallowed it hurriedly, I saw it gush right out again, a bloodstained stream, through a  hole in her neck.” Heartsick, I went to… find the surgeon… For a moment he stood there near the door, looking over the mass of suffering and dying women and children… The silence they kept was so complete that it was oppressive… Then to my amazement I saw that the surgeon, who I knew had served in the Civil War, attending the wounded… from the Wilderness to Appomattox, began to grow pale… ‘This is the first time I’ve seen a lot of women and children shot to pieces,’ he said. ‘I can’t stand it’…. Out at Wounded Knee, because a storm set in, followed by a blizzard, the bodies of the slain Indians lay untouched for three days, frozen stiff from where they had fallen. Finally they were buried in a large trench dug on the battlefield itself. On that third day Colonel Colby… saw the blanket of a corpse move… Under the blanket, snuggled up to its dead mother, he found a suckling baby girl.

Digital History Project

Tibbles was an individual deeply involved in trying to “right the world.” His entire life was spent seeking justice for others — initially for the African slaves and later the American Indian.

Tibbles was a border crosser: willing to leave his familiar and comfortable, white world with all its inherent privileges and comforts.

As noted arlier, the Thomas Henry Tibbles Fellowship is awarded to individuals connected to Mount Union who are engaged in some way in a form of border crossing. It is a monetary award given to further the individual’s work. Thus far, two individuals have received the award in 2019.

Damon Taylor

Mr. Taylor, a Mount Union graduate, is a senior advisor at PSYDEH, A.C. in the Mexico City area.


From its website:

PSYDEH is a Mexican NGO governed by our mission, vision, and values.

 Our work is co-led by native women partners. This means that we listen to one another. We engage as equals and not solely as service provider and beneficiaries. PSYDEH, therefore, produces needed novel programs and projects in the Sierra Otomí-Tepehua region, Hidalgo, central Mexico.

 With female founders, an all-women board, Mexican and international funders and friends and a majority indigenous and female team, we:

 VALUE the innate capacity of Mexican people,

 LOOK to indigenous wisdom on community organizing, as well as democratic principles, and human development science as knowledge sources,

 KNOW that laws are based on human rights and are the instrument with which citizens construct what they imagine to be possible for their communities,

 UNDERSTAND that rights come with responsibilities; laws are only as impactful as citizens make them,

 TRUST that our empowerment work is needed. Integrating science, organizing practices, the spirit of rights and the letter of the law leads to boosting citizen demand for, and work towards, stronger communities. It supports responsible supply by the government in the form of quality basic services.

The monetary award will go toward supporting the work of PSYDEH.

 Nicole Chapman Parker

Ms. Parker, a Mount Union graduate, and her husband, Sanjay, are the founders of Dare2Care International.


From their website:

Children are the future of the world, and so we choose to start with the children.

 Dare 2 Care International is a 501(c)3 non-profit social impact organization committed to empowering at-risk children to reach their full potential.

 Dare 2 Care International exists to ensure orphaned children realize:

 The right to a stable, loving and nurturing environment with their parents or relatives, if possible

The right to healthcare and nutrition

The right to clean water and electric power

The right to a quality education

The right to equal opportunities

The right to guidance from a caring adult

The right to be heard and participate in decisions that affect them

The right to be prepared for active and responsible citizenship

The right to safety and protection from abuse and neglect

The right to live in conditions of dignity and freedom

The right to spiritual development

 Dare 2 Care International is involved in several global projects. One such endeavor is in the Republic of Cameroon where they are teamed up with Grace of God’s Philanthropic Foundation orphanage. One undertaking involves providing shoes for residents of the orphanage. The Tibbles Fellowship provided funds in support of this venture.



The following is the Foundation’s grant application procedure.


The Foundation is open to projects that fit within its mission of facilitating culturally engaging activities that have as their goal the bringing together of diverse individuals and points of view. The exchange of ideas and people through international travel  and study, cultural immersions, and original projects are examples.  Priority will be given to undergraduate and high school students proposing activities involving Asian and Western border crossings.

Foundation deadline:  A letter of inquiry must be submitted at least 6 months prior to the start of the proposed project/activity.

Letter of Inquiry

The application process begins with a letter of inquiry.  Interested applicants should submit a letter with in the following information:

  • name of individual or group  applying;
  • contact information: phone number, address (physical and email);
  • one-page resume which includes: educational background and academic accomplishments, career/professional goals;
  • one-paragraph description of your project including (a) a brief summary statement of the goals and objectives of the project and (b)  a timeline with important approximate starting and ending dates;
  • a one-paragraph statement demonstrating how your proposed project fits into the mission of the CFCE;
  • the names  and addresses (electronic preferred) of 3 references;
  • the total estimated budget for your project and the amount of your  request.*

*Note: the CFCE typically awards small grants up to $1,000.00.

This letter, as well as the formal proposal, should be sent electronically to:


Formal Proposal

If the letter of inquiry addresses the Foundation’s mission and the project is deemed worthy by the Foundation board, applicants will be invited to submit a formal proposal. The formal proposal should be no more than 3-pages and address the following areas:

  •  need: what is the problem your plan/project will address?
  • plan: detail your project; what are the project’s goals?  and discuss how a CFCE grant will help you meet your goals;
  • benefit: how will your project impact you and others?
  • measurable outcomes (assessment): what outcomes do you expect and how will you know if your plan was executed successfully?
  • how you will give back what you’ve learned to others.

Post project report.  At the conclusion of the project, individuals awarded grants will be expected to submit a one-page report to the Foundation discussing the activities and how the goals were met and the benefits of the project.