Baylor Philanthropy Lab students present $50,335 in grants to local nonprofits

Students in Baylor University's Philanthropy and the Public Good class spent the fall semester cultivating their philanthropic spirit, which culminated with the presentation of $50,335 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations. The funds will allow these local organizations to do everything from providing a place for displaced and homeless teenagers to developing a new revenue stream for a nonprofit through a creative social venture.

The students operated as a foundation board of directors, deciding how and where to give funds; as foundation program officers, cultivating relationships with nonprofits, assessing their needs and effectiveness and in some cases advocating on their behalf to the larger board of directors; and finally as employees of a nonprofit organization, writing grant applications that were considered by the larger board. Students initially worked with 60 interested nonprofits and debated how to distribute real money in addressing local needs.

This year's grant recipients are Prosper Waco/Act Locally Waco ($10,400), Creative Waco ($5,000), Talitha Koum Institute ($4,415), Family Abuse Center ($10,000), The Cove ($12,520), Care Net ($3,000) and Community Cancer Association ($5,000).

"For generations, Baylor and Waco have been collaborators and partners. This community has greatly enriched Baylor, and in turn our faculty and students have devoted time and talent to the greater good of our community," said Andy Hogue, PhD, lecturer in the Honors Program in the Honors College and director of the Philanthropy and Public Service Program.

The latest grants will bring the total amount given to local nonprofit organizations through the philanthropy class to more than $225,000 since the fall of 2014.

This semester, $50,000 was provided to the class by the Fort Worth-based Once Upon A Time Foundation, which operates the Philanthropy Lab. Baylor is among 17 universities that participate in the hands-on philanthropy education program. The goals are for students to broaden their knowledge of the nonprofit sector, challenge their assumptions about giving and help them develop meaningful criteria for evaluating and comparing organizations.

Hogue has taught the class for three semesters, but it never fails as a source of great inspiration to him, his students, the local community and kindhearted donors, who helped spread the message of generosity by giving generously themselves.

"What each of these people did--donors, community partners and students alike--was simply to share, to give and to receive," Hogue said.

That may be the biggest lesson of all--that people are never more intensely alive than when they are sharing, when they are both givers of what they have and recipients of what someone else has for them.

"That's what has been so meaningful in this work: the opportunity to witness the calling of givers giving well and recipients making the most of the gifts," Hogue said. "We are excited for ongoing opportunities to continue in this sharing enterprise. Many good days are ahead for this work."

Read more about Baylor's Philanthropy and the Public Good class on its blog site at blogs.baylor.edu/philanthropy/.