Baylor endeavors to become a place "where our Christian faith, in conjunction with our expertise and resources, inspires a desire to address systemic problems facing our community." For three decades, the work of the Philanthropy & Public Service Program has been to help fulfill that vision, aspiring, as its founding documents articulated, to develop in students "a sense of civic virtue and responsibility" and a "commitment to moral action."
The PPS program began when, wishing to fulfill Baylor's civic mission in a more comprehensive manner, a university-wide committee met in spring 1990 to produce a proposal that integrates service into the core curriculum of all its undergraduate students. With the help of generous funding from The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation and The Waco Foundation, Baylor launched the Civic Education and Community Service Program in January 1991. In 2015, reflecting a shift toward a broader set of civic goals, the program rebranded to become the Philanthropy & Public Service Program.
Today the program is organized around two sets of priorities:
- The Baylor Philanthropy Initiative, which partners with the Office of External Affairs and operates much like a community foundation, making hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to social sector partners, and
- Civic Learning and Engagement courses, in which hundreds of students integrate academic learning with service to community partners in an effort to build a stronger Waco.