The Wendy Whited Memorial ASU Grant Program

The ASU Grant program exists to help people attend our organization’s camps and special training opportunities. In addition to helping meet a requirement for Yudansha promotions, connecting with teachers and members of the greater Aikido community is a positive and powerful experience. In the over thirty years since Saotome Sensei’s founding of the ASU, many lifelong friendships have been formed and our collective view of practice has been enriched. This is a tremendous growth potential in working with new people and seeing different instructors.

We understand that not everyone can afford to come to a camp and the ASU Grant program has been established to help qualified candidates attend.

Eligible Events

The Grant Program supports ASU camps and ASU sessions at the Shrine dojo in Florida with grants of up to $1500. We also provide micro-grants of $50-200 for those events and for ASU-sponsored nanadan events.


We are supporting students who support their dojos. To be considered a qualified candidate, you must be an active ASU member and demonstrate financial need. Grants require the written support of your chief instructor/dojocho; micro-grants do not. 

The Committee prefers candidates with at least two years of consistent training. We attempt to allocate limited funds throughout the entire organization, which may limit the number of grants given to a single dojo. 

Micro-grant Process

Apply for a grant of $50-200 by filling out an application. We review applications three to five weeks before the start of the event. If you are awarded a grant, you must accept within two days.  After receiving proof of registration, the award amount will be sent to the address on your application.

Full Grant Application Process

   The Grant Applicant

Fill out an online application for the event you are interested in attending during the dates listed below. Use the application to state your interest in attending and what makes you a good candidate. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure their instructor has also submitted a support application. If you are awarded a grant, you should notify the committee within two days that you are accepting the grant. If the grant is declined, the funds can be used for other candidates who may need more assistance. Upon confirmation of acceptance the candidate should make their plans for the event by registering, arranging lodging and transport within 30 days. When complete, send the registration documentation to the grant committee so disbursements can be made.

   The Instructor

As the dojo-cho or student’s instructor, fill in the application from the link below in support of your student. Describe the applicant’s contributions to the dojo community and/or other efforts that establish the individual’s contributions to aikido. The Application should give us a sense of the applicant from the instructor’s perspective. As a guideline there should only be one qualified application per dojo for a given event. Special circumstances for up to two applicants must be pre-approved before application submission.

Application Periods

  • Boulder Nanadan Seminar – now through March 10, 2024.

Selection Process

The program administrator, along with the selection committee, will look at all the applications and make a determination about who is most qualified. The requests for funds will be balanced with the available Grant budget. Grants are awarded based on financial need and the merit of the candidate. The committee may not be able to meet all the needs and will communicate their decisions and abilities in a timely manner. In some cases, it may be possible or necessary to defer an application for another camp. The Grant Program is administered by Kay Sandacz;  Lee Crawford and Jennifer Barr are on the Selection Committee.  These administrators can be reached by email to

Recipient’s Responsibilities

We expect the applicant who is awarded a Grant to communicate their ability and intention to attend the camp. Recipients are expected to pre-register and to make their own travel and lodging arrangements. Grant recipients are ambassadors of the ASU and their home dojo. Running a camp is a great deal of work and the seminar hosts are volunteers. We would expect all recipients to help with the needs of the camp hosts. When you arrive, please identify yourself with the registration desk and ask how you can help. We also expect recipients to write a review of the experience so we can use this to spread the word and learn more from this program.
“I had a great experience! I had wanted to attend winter camp for years. Being on the mats with so many wonderful new turning partners was life changing. Seeing all the expressions of aikido, and feeling the differences in the way people moved was very inspiring. Now I know that I have to make it back again as often as I can, and I have already started a small saving account to make that happen. The ASU Grant was a huge help in getting me there and I was able to keep any additional costs super low. The price out of pocket to the experience I had was amazing! Thanks to the ASU I had an experience I won’t ever forget and I will be sure to make it happen again as soon as I can.”– Reg Nugent
“Saotome [Sensei] was mind-blowing as usual. I have seen him just a few times and feel very very fortunate to get such a large dose of his teaching. I really appreciated how hard he was trying to help us to understand what he wanted us to know. Having the opportunity to work with many different black belts was also a great thing for me since in my home dojo membership is small and most are junior to me. Each instructor had their own way of teaching but together they blended so that we could often take something from one class and use it to expand on the things in the next. I must say that the camp was really wonderful. I learned a lot and over the past weeks my teachers have noted many changes in my aikido that we attribute to this experience. It has stimulated some new growth and new understanding. It is fun to see what bubbles to the surface each week. It also had the happy side effect of staving off the worst of my usual severe winter depression. Even with the great generosity of the ASU the trip was a little costly for me but I am already trying to work out how I can make Winter camp a regular part of my aikido routine. Thank you to everyone on the ASU board for making this trip possible for me and for others like myself who could not do it otherwise. The Grant program is a wonderful opportunity and I am grateful to have been given this tremendous gift.” – Cherie Cornmesser