Baylor Philanthropy Lab Students Present $62,500 in Grants to Local Nonprofits

Philanthropy Lab Spring 2017
(Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
May 4, 2017

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (May 4, 2017) – For the past three years, a full-credit class of Baylor University students has taken on a very tangible task: stewarding and giving away thousands of dollars in partnership with local nonprofit organizations. Through this transformational hands-on experience, students in the “Philanthropy and Public Good” class provide real funds for real needs in the local community while cultivating a philanthropic spirit and developing as innovative leaders poised for a lifetime of generosity.

On May 2, the spring class of 15 students presented $62,500 in grants to 12 nonprofit organizations. The funds will allow these local organizations to take care of numerous practical needs, from the purchase of medical equipment, new technology and education supplies to advancing the arts and the new Waco Hispanic Museum to the development of new and continued services that assist families, women, first-time mothers, young adults, veterans and the greater Waco community.

Baylor is among 22 universities that participate in The Philanthropy Lab, a hands-on philanthropy education program based in Fort Worth that ignites students’ interest and participation in philanthropy, encourages thoughtful giving by providing funds to university philanthropy courses and enables students to evaluate nonprofit organizations and award grants.

Funding for this semester’s class was provided by Philanthropy Lab and Aramark, which partnered with students on two grants. Since fall 2014, students participating in this unique and transformational learning environment have stewarded and given away nearly $400,000 in grants to dozens of local nonprofits.

“Although we have done this now six semesters, this experience is new and invigorating each time,” said Andy Hogue, Ph.D., director of the Philanthropy and Public Service Program and senior lecturer in the Honors College, who teaches the philanthropy course.

The local nonprofits receiving grants this year are: The Advocacy Center ($14,000), Take Heart Ministries ($3,850), UnBound ($8,300), AVANCE ($2,850), Good Neighbor Settlement House ($7,000), R Labs ($8,000), Caritas ($1,250), Compassion Ministries ($4,000), Nurse-Family Partnership ($4,500), Waco Hispanic Museum ($2,500), Creative Waco ($5,000) and REACH Therapeutic Riding Center ($1,250).

Goodness to Light

Citing a passage from “We Make a Life by What We Give” by Richard Gunderman – “Even if we are not the light’s source, we can still act as lenses, refracting what Jesus intended in calling human beings the light of the world” – Hallie Hillebrand, a senior Baylor Business Fellow/accounting major from Keller, Texas, reflected in a blog post that Christ-followers and philanthropists are called to spread not only the light of Christ to the world but also to “draw out that light from other places, to bring light to areas that many may not have realized even had it within them.”

“These organizations are doing their best in acting as lenses for this good work, showing their community (and beyond) the light and goodness that still exists in the world,” Hillebrand wrote. “I believe that we as a class this semester have done this as well in our work, and going forward, I hope to continue this practice in my life each and every day, to discover – and be – the good that exists in the world and to bring that goodness to light.”

Students initially worked with interested nonprofits to evaluate community needs. Based on shared interests, the class then divided into four teams, researching organizations, then engaging 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. In addition, three teams joined together to pool their funds for an even greater impact.

“We have phenomenal community partners who inspire and pour into our students in magnificent ways. We have visionary financial partners, such as The Philanthropy Lab and Aramark, who so generously fund this venture because they see the amplified benefit of transforming students who transform the community,” Hogue said. “And the students – they are what make this so enriching, with their new ideas, fresh energy, and constant and compelling bents toward compassion and innovation. These students represent the very best of what Baylor is and what Baylor can be, and it is a joy to work with them.”

Philanthropic partnerships

Throughout the semester, students class operated as a foundation board of directors, deciding in “board meetings” how and where to give funds, and 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.

The class also continues its partnership with Aramark, which provided funds for the class. However, this process involved a council of Aramark employees, who collectively determined their areas of interest for providing grants. Students researched those priorities and presented the council with three options, two of which they decided to fund.

“Aramark is truly a fantastic partner in this effort,” Hogue said.

In addition, the concept of generosity was embedded in another class as Baylor’s Philanthropy and Public Service Program provided $1,000 to students in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core in the Honors College. These students also went through a grant-making process, ultimately choosing UnBound as a grant recipient.

“Realizing that there is so much good to do, and that there are so many ways to do it, is a pivotal educational moment for these students, what we call a light bulb moment,” Hogue said. “They are confronted with a reality that they were not expecting, that giving is complex. And so, their work over the course of the semester is to navigate that complexity and exit the experience with an unquenched desire to keep doing good – because there is still so much good to do.

“But at the end of the day, what has stuck with these students, and what past students tell me sticks with them beyond the semester, is that we are called, whatever our station, whatever our means, whatever our scale, whatever the need – we are called toward generosity. We are called to share.”

Spring 2017 Philanthropy and the Public Good Grants

The Advocacy Center: $14,000

Provide match funds that will allow the Advocacy Center to purchase two colposcopes, which are medical instruments designed to be minimally intrusive and maximally effective in sexual assault examinations, increasing ease and comfort for survivors, improving judgment for examiners (nurses/physicians) and providing better evidence to law enforcement.

Take Heart Ministries: $3,850

New to Waco, Take Heart Ministries exists to build dignity, improve health and restore hope to women who are homeless or in transition by providing feminine hygiene products and related items. This grant will allow the ministry to purchase a trailer, which will expand the reach of Take Heart’s services and enable many more women to receive help and care.

UnBound: $8,300 (plus another $1,000 awarded by BIC students, in partnership with the Philanthropy and Public Service Program)

UnBound, based in Waco, works around the globe to activate local communities to fight human trafficking. This grant will help them purchase technology to facilitate trainings, as well as a case management system that UnBound can use to effectively manage cases to make sure every victim and survivor accesses the resources for which they are eligible.

AVANCE: $2,850

AVANCE works with parents and children, equipping parents with knowledge that directly impacts children’s development while enabling and encouraging parents to achieve their own educational and professional goals. This grant provides direct support for AVANCE’s Parent-Child Education Program, which instills a philosophy of nurturing care, wellness, and language development in parents, as they embrace their role as their child’s first teacher and their home as first classroom.

Good Neighbor Settlement House: $7,000

Good Neighbor House is based on the “settlement house” model of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in which people who wished to serve neighborhoods moved into local buildings that became hubs of social, educational and spiritual activity. Residents – called “settlers” – of Good Neighbor House open their home as neighbors for the community to use. This grant will fund the construction of outdoor meeting and performance space, expanding the scope of what Good Neighbor can offer to the community.

R Labs: $8,000

R Labs works to bring hope and social/economic transformation to our community through a program targeted to reach underdeveloped and transitioning adults between the ages of 18 and25. Often forgotten at this critical life juncture, young adults in Waco have the opportunity to learn business and entrepreneurial skills that will enable them to obtain, and perhaps even create, employment opportunities. R Labs operates in 22 other countries, and Waco is now set to become the first U.S. branch. This grant provides R Labs with vital startup funds, funding coaches and curriculum for their “Mobile Café” classes.

Caritas: $1,250

Caritas provides urgent support to people in need in our community. In addition to assistance with basic needs, Caritas also runs a case management program, in which they offer clients an opportunity to more fully address difficulties and problems in their lives. This grant will fund educational support supplies for clients.

Compassion Ministries: $4,000

Compassion Ministries seeks to reintegrate homeless individuals and those on the verge of homelessness into permanent housing and employment. To reach that goal, Compassion provides multiple services for residents living onsite in transitional housing facilities. In partnership with Aramark, this grant will contribute to Compassion’s endowment, enabling the organization to obtain financial sustainability into the future.

Nurse-Family Partnership: $4,500

Nurse-Family Partnership is a proven community healthcare program that empowers low-income, first-time mothers to become confident parents and strong women by partnering with nurse home visits. This grant will fund a “stroller club” for new mothers, enabling them to develop support systems and healthy habits that they can pass along to their children in critical first years.

Waco Hispanic Museum: $2,500

The Waco Hispanic Museum, which opened in September 2016, exists to preserve Hispanic culture and to promote Hispanic involvement in Waco and Central Texas. This grant will fund the first stage of restoration for La Pila, “the basin,” a significant site along the banks of the Brazos River that once served as a primary gathering spot for Mexican-American families. Upon restoration, Waco Hispanic Museum hopes to apply for a state historical marker.

Creative Waco: $5,000

Creative Waco exists to grow and support a thriving cultural and creative community in Waco. This grant will support the Arts Match Program (AMP), a fund for supporting great ideas for high impact and/or innovative arts projects by providing matching grants that will help grow our community as a vibrant cultural hub.

REACH Therapeutic Riding Center: $1,250

REACH exists to improve the health, increase the confidence and promote the independence of persons with special needs through the use of horses. In addition, REACH runs “Horses for Warriors,” a free program for U.S. military veterans injured in the line of duty. In partnership with Aramark, this grant will provide food for the program, enabling local veterans to gather and socialize over a meal while participating in Horses for Warriors.


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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