Real Funds for Real Needs: Baylor Philanthropy and the Public Good Class Gives $62,500 in Grants to Nonprofit Organizations
WACO, Texas (Dec. 5, 2018) – Since fall 2014, a full-credit class of Baylor University students has taken on a very tangible task: stewarding and giving away thousands of dollars – a total now more than $600,000 – in partnership with nonprofit organizations. Through this transformational undergraduate experience, Baylor students in the “Philanthropy and Public Good” class provide real funds for real needs in local, state and global communities while cultivating a philanthropic spirit and developing as innovative leaders poised for a lifetime of generosity.
On Dec. 4, the fall class of 20 students presented $62,500 in grants to eight nonprofit organizations, who will use the funds for numerous practical needs as they serve families and farms, at-risk children and students, domestic abuse and sex-trafficking survivors, and children in the foster care system.
Baylor is among 19 universities that participate in the Fort Worth-based Philanthropy Lab, a hands-on philanthropy education program that sparks and expands students’ interest and participation in philanthropy, increases philanthropy education at U.S. colleges and universities and encourages programs to become self-sustaining. A gift of $50,000 from anonymous Baylor graduates and $12,500 from the Philanthropy Lab provided the funds for this fall’s class.
“Today we celebrate so much that is good: the inspiring work that our community partners do each and every day to change, improve and sometimes even save lives; the generous contributions and the time, talent and treasure that have made this work possible by friends and supporters of this program; and the astounding diligence, dedication and deliberation of these remarkable students, who give us much reason for hope,” said Andrew Hogue, Ph.D., director of the Philanthropy and Public Service Program and senior lecturer in the Honors Program within Baylor’s Honors College.
At the beginning of the semester, students nominated four nonprofit organizations for a total of 80. The rest of the fall, the 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. After their final deliberation, the students presented grants to these eight nonprofits:
- • Family Abuse Center ($15,000): Grant will provide funds for the development of and sensory toys for the HOPES program, a collaborative parent support program, as well as a capital project to replace facility light bulbs with LEDs.
- • Elijah Rising, Houston ($7,000): Grant will provide funds for a septic system for Kendleton Farms, a residential facility for survivors of sex trafficking to receive restorative care.
- • Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, Dallas ($8,400): Grants will provide fund for a “Hope Squad” at two different schools. Hope Squad is a national school-based peer-to-peer suicide prevention program.
- • Caritas ($6,000): Grant will provide funds for an update of Caritas’s technological infrastructure, including new computers and software.
- • Talitha Koum Institute ($8,000): Grant will provide funds for new sensory modulation equipment for Sensorimotor Lab, gym and infant playground.
- • CASA ($10,000): Grant will provide a contribution toward the remodel of a new facility for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), funding one office and enabling the organization to accommodate more volunteer advocates.
- • One Acre Fund, Kenya ($2,500): Grant will provide funds for fertilizer, distribution and training for 100 family farms looking to become self-sustaining.
- • SHE is Freedom ($5,600): Grant will provide funds for startup costs for the organization as it seeks to provide a safe house and comprehensive restoration for survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking.
In just four years, students in Baylor philanthropy courses have given $612,785 in the form of 98 grants to 52 distinct organizations. Of those grants, 90 have been to organizations doing work in Waco. The students, nonprofits and generous supporters of their work are united through a radical notion of hospitality.
“[It’s] the very idea practiced and modeled to us by the early Christians, who set out to tell the world that there is no ‘us’ and ‘them,’ that we are God’s, and it is incumbent upon us, it is a gift to us, that we are able share with one another,” Hogue said. “The organizations have been points of light, inspiring our students to devote themselves to the good of others and to the public good. And most important, they have been practitioners, not just of their craft, which they perform with excellence, but of radical, wonderful hospitality.”
A philanthropic life
Baylor’s philanthropy program also holds several distinctions among the participating institutions in the Philanthropy Lab consortium, noted Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., who spoke at the grant presentation. Baylor has taught the most courses and the most students, raised and given away the most money and become the consortium’s go-to advisor for new universities beginning similar programs, she said.
“It’s remarkable how deeply this program ties the experience our students are having to our heritage as a Christian university,” President Livingstone said. “In our vision documents, we talk about providing a transformational education for our students ‘where academic excellence and life-changing experiences ignite leadership potential that increases our students’ desires for wisdom, understanding of calling and preparation for service.’ This program, in many ways, defines that vision so effectively. Not only are our students learning how to give money away corporately by engaging nonprofits in Waco, around the state and around the world, but they are learning how to think about their life as a philanthropic life after they graduate.”
As they learn the practicalities of strategic grantmaking, students in Baylor’s philanthropy program also focus on cultivating lives of generosity, including writing a “Giving Pledge” that sets philanthropic goals for themselves and includes a reminder mechanism every five years.
“We are here — both in this class and on this earth — to love God and to love our neighbor in such a way that we empower him or her to take hold of what the first epistle to Timothy calls ‘the life that really is life,’” Hogue said. “To put that another way, we live and work and walk around in this world so that we might help one another flourish, to do what is in our capability to help individuals and institutions and communities become all that they’re capable of being.”
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 17,000 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.