Baylor Philanthropy Lab Students Present $52,250 in Grants to Local Nonprofits

Philanthropy Lab big check presentation
Photo courtesy of Emmitt Drumgoole, EDJ Photography
May 3, 2016

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275

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WACO, Texas (May 3, 2016) – For the past two years, a full-credit class of Baylor University students has focused its energies on the role of philanthropy in a civil society while taking on the very real task of giving away thousands of dollars to local nonprofit organizations.

The spring 2016 “Philanthropy and the Public Good” class of 19 students presented $52,500 in grants to nine local nonprofit organizations during a ceremony Tuesday in the President’s Suite at McLane Stadium. The funds will allow these local organizations to take care of practical needs, such as transportation, a secure computer server and the ability to go “paperless,” as well as address hunger, provide hope, improve health, invest in neighborhoods and support the arts.

“Every semester, I get to bear firsthand witness to a remarkable collaboration, a confluence of generous donors, inspiring community partners and bright students who are eager to understand and enrich their community,” said Andrew P. Hogue, Ph.D., director of the Philanthropy and Public Service Program and a senior lecturer in the Honors Program in Baylor’s Honors College.

Since presenting its inaugural grants in fall 2014, the class has stewarded and given away more than $275,000 to more than 30 local nonprofits through a unique and transformational learning environment. Baylor is among 17 universities that participate in The Philanthropy Lab, a hands-on philanthropy education program that aspires to help shape not only well-educated leaders, but also responsible citizens.

“In this program, we emphasize that philanthropy at its best is marked by mutuality and collaboration, and that is possible only in partnership,” Hogue said. “We couldn’t ask for better partners – visionary donors who see both the short- and long-term impacts of helping our students cultivate lives of generosity, as well as visionary community leaders who become our co-educators by helping our students understand those purposes larger than themselves that we are all capable of helping to address.”

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

This year’s grant recipients were:

  • Texas Hunger Initiative ($5,500): This grant will be used in a partnership with Waco ISD and Share Our Strength to purchase two portable breakfast carts, which will be strategically placed for use at Waco High School.
  • Restoration Haven, Inc. ($10,000): This grant is a joint venture between Baylor philanthropy students and a council of Aramark employees, who pooled funds to help purchase two lightly used passenger vans for Restoration Haven, Inc. (RHI), a community support organization based in the Estella Maxey public housing complex in East Waco.
  • Nurse-Family Partnership at Baylor Scott & White ($8,160): This grant will provide early-stage operational support for Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a nationwide initiative new to Waco that is a rigorously tested community healthcare program with astounding, multi-generational outcomes.
  • Communities in Schools of the Heart of Texas ($5,000): This grant will help fund the services of a local software company to rebrand and enhance a software program and make it available on the web, eventually resulting in a sustainable revenue source for CIS-HOT, the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization, to maintain and enrich its work in local schools.
  • Family Abuse Center ($4,500): This grant will be used in one of two ways: helping FAC “go paperless” and installing tamp-proof LED light fixtures, which will save FAC more than $3,600 in operational costs each year; or purchasing a new commercial convection oven, which will dramatically reduce time and electricity costs associated with providing meals for survivors and families who take refuge at FAC’s facility.
  • Waco Community Development Corporation ($5,000): This grant will cover the cost of two roof replacements as part of the Waco CDC’s Bounce Roofing program, which provides external home repairs for qualified individuals, with priority given to disabled, elderly and low-income homeowners.
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates of McLennan and Hill Counties ($2,340): This grant will fund a new computer server, which will be installed at no cost to CASA by volunteers from D1 Design Group, a local design firm.
  • Waco Civic Theatre ($7,000): This grant will be an investment in a director of development for WCT, who will specialize in generating new sources of revenue for the theatre, enabling the organization to expand its reach and improve its productions.

  • Creative Waco ($5,000): This grant will go toward operational costs for Creative Waco, funding initiatives such as training sessions, web design and dissemination of information that will help position the organization as Waco’s local arts agency.

Evaluating Community Needs

Throughout the fall, the 19 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.

“As the students in this class are engaged with our local nonprofits, they are getting firsthand experience about serving the marginalized in our city. They get to take a look at the face of poverty through our lens and understand the resources needed to bring hope, healing and restoration,” said Shirley Langston, board president for Restoration Haven, a nonprofit community support organization in Waco that seeks to restore at-risk communities. “Restoration Haven Inc. is excited to be one of the recipients. I am even more excited that we are equipping the next generation to be fully aware of the effect of poverty on our cities and what they can do to break the cycles that continue.”

Students initially worked with more than 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.

Becoming “thoughtful, committed philanthropists”

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’s philanthropy (program) is doing the unthinkable ... teaching Millennials to be thoughtful, committed philanthropists,” said Fiona Bond, director of Creative Waco. “We love these engaged young people. They take their responsibilities seriously and handle themselves professionally. Working with them helps us to reflect on how we can better reach a new generation of supporters eager to make the world a better place.”

With philanthropy education often missing from curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular offerings related to civic engagement and leadership, The Philanthropy Lab 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 of the program 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.

“Before taking this class, I viewed philanthropic acts the way I think many people do: writing a check to an organization with a good cause or contributing some community service to a well-respected organization when I have the free time. After this class, I will walk away with an enriched conception of philanthropy and all it can offer to individuals on both ends of the grant process,” said Lauren Lamb, a senior political science major from Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

“Philanthropy is ... the selfless giving of time, money and energy for the belief that even the smallest difference that can be made in the life of an individual is worth it all. Philanthropy is grounded and meaningful. It inspires and offers hope. Even if there will be no world peace or end to hunger and homelessness, at least there can be a change in one life, maybe a community or even an entire city,” Lamb said.

“One of the most important points discussed (in the class) was that of the goal of philanthropy in general. Abundantly clear is the essential role that it plays in society,” said Anuj Marathe, a senior Baylor Business Fellow from Chicago, Illinois. “Philanthropic endeavors bring people love and hope, the two most essential emotions when facing hardships. It creates a framework for change and allows people to seek improvement in their own lives or those of others.”

“As a class, we’ve learned about strategy, grant writing and everything in between. Overall, this experience has been humbling like no other (because of) the incredible people I’ve been surrounded by, from guest speakers to instructors to executive directors and even classmates,” said Wesley Harper, a sophomore Baylor Business Fellow from Orlando, Florida. “The caliber of these individuals has challenged me to take advantage of this unique opportunity to impact the Waco community, but also to grow as a thinker and to adapt my preconceived notions of work in the social sector. Through my interactions with staff of various nonprofits, I’ve come to realize just how vital their roles are.”

Generosity, Leadership and Service

Hogue has taught the Philanthropy and the Public Good class for four semesters, and it continues to serve as a source of inspiration to him, his students, the local community and kindhearted donors, who helped spread the message of generosity by giving generously themselves.

“The Baylor family should be proud of these superb students,” Hogue said. “This is hard work, and the learning curve is always steeper than they imagine. But it will surprise no one that Baylor is home to students in disciplines across the university who rise to this challenge, who work well together and who leave devoted to lives of generosity, leadership and service.”

Read more about Baylor’s “Philanthropy and the Public Good” class on its blog site at http://blogs.baylor.edu/philanthropy/.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 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.

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