Baylor Philanthropy Lab Students Present $50,335 in Grants to Local Nonprofits

Philanthropy and the Public Good
Following a semester in Baylor University's "Philanthropy and the Public Good" class, 21 students presented $50,335 in grants Dec. 8 to seven deserving nonprofit organizations. They were joined by Dr. Andy Hogue, who teaches the class, and First Lady Alice Starr. (Dale Caffey/Waco ISD)
Dec. 8, 2015

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275

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WACO, Texas (Dec. 8, 2015) – How do you ignite college students’ interest and participation in philanthropy for the rest of their lives? You give them an opportunity to steward and give away tens of thousands of dollars in a unique and transformational learning environment.

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 grant presentation was held in the North Village Community Center on the Baylor campus.

This year’s grant recipients are:

• Prosper Waco/Act Locally Waco ($10,400): Prosper Waco will acquire Act Locally Waco over the next year, and these funds will pay a person to do the part-time work of Act Locally Waco during a one-year transition period, to ensure a successful merger.

• Creative Waco ($5,000): This grant will go toward producing a video as the centerpiece of Waco’s Cultural District application.

• Talitha Koum Institute ($4,415): This grant is for the early stages of a new social venture that will develop for TKI a new and reliable source of revenue. Last semester’s students funded a feasibility study, which revealed that TKI can generate tremendous revenue by farming and selling mushrooms. This grant will fund an apprenticeship for a TKI staff member to learn from a successful mushroom operation in South Carolina.

• Family Abuse Center ($10,000): This grant will purchase new water heaters needed for FAC’s facility, which will save the organization as much as $90,000 over the life of the new heaters.

• The Cove ($12,520): This grant will allow The Cove to pay rent and purchase important supplies as it launches this exciting venture that creates a place for displaced and homeless teens in Waco ISD.

• Care Net ($3,000): This grant will furnish Care Net with a new mobile sensory lab for small children who will stay at Care Net’s new facilities.

• Community Cancer Association ($5,000): These funds will go directly to patient assistance for local cancer patients in need of medication, wigs and transportation assistance for out-of-town cancer treatments.

“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, Ph.D., lecturer in the Honors Program in the Honors College and director of the Philanthropy and Public Service Program. “Today marks a milestone in which we share not just time and talent, but also financial resources, in the form of grants to organizations that transform lives and enhance the well-being of our community. We pioneered this work together last fall, and we are thrilled to have expanded it and enhanced it in the year since.”

The latest grants will bring the total amount given to local nonprofit organizations through the philanthropy class to more than $225,000. Baylor students in the inaugural class in fall 2014 presented $100,000 in grants to eight local organizations. The spring class presented $75,000 in grants to 14 nonprofit organizations.

This semester, $50,000 was provided to the class by the Fort Worth-based Once Upon A Time Foundation, which operates the Philanthropy Lab.

The total amount of the students’ grants actually came in $335 over the allotted funding. Instead of subtracting that amount from any of the grants, the students pooled together their own funds to make up the difference.

Evaluating Community Needs

Throughout the fall, the 21 students in the class operated as a foundation board of directors, deciding in “board meetings” 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 to evaluate community needs in these key areas: Health and Wellness; Hunger and Homelessness; Children, Youth and Education; Human Services and Civil Rights; Community Development; and Culture, Arts and the Environment.

The class divided into teams and researched 10 to 15 organizations each, then engaged in a process that included comparison studies, site visits, grant-writing and debate as they determined how most effectively to distribute real money in addressing local needs.

Baylor is among 17 universities that participate in the hands-on philanthropy education program.

The Philanthropy Lab focuses on higher education to help shape not only well-educated leaders, but also responsible citizens. With philanthropy education often missing from curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular offerings related to civic engagement and leadership, the program hopes to change that so that more students will consider what it means to give of their money, time and skills with careful consideration. 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.

Giving and Receiving

Hogue has taught the Philanthropy and the Public Good 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


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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