Teaching Generosity: Learning About Strategic Philanthropy at the U of A

Teaching Generosity: Learning About Strategic Philanthropy at the U of A
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Students in the U of A's  Strategic Philanthropy course, a collaboration between its Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and Sam M. Walton College of Business, recently celebrated the end of a successful fall semester by allocating a total of $39,000 to several local non-profits.

The major award of $30,000 was given to Seeds That Feed, an organization that works with local farmers to provide fresh produce to the Northwest Arkansas community. The organization will continue to work with course instructors to track the impact of these funds as they are invested back into the community.

Additionally, Hub of Hope, the NWA Children's Shelter and the NWA Single Parent Scholarship Fund received awards of $2,000, while Apple Seeds, NWA Center for Sexual Assault, the SOAR After School Program and the NWA Women's Shelter received $750.

The gifts are the result of a semester of study, as students taking the course were asked to research local non-profits and divide funds to give to them based on data metrics and personal values.             

Students also made their decisions based on discussions with representatives from each organization, followed by visits to the groups' headquarters. Factors like mission fulfillment, financial stability, organizational strength, impact and the presence of community partners were also considered.

At the presentation ceremony that concluded the course, students shared their methods and experiences and discussed how the course changed their understanding of philanthropic giving.

"As I move forward, I carry not just knowledge, but practical skills that empower me to make a positive impact in the world of philanthropy," said Greyson Daniels, a Strategic Philanthropy course student, about his experience in the class.

These aspiring philanthropists join a growing number of college-aged individuals taking similar courses at educational intuitions across the United States, like University of Texas - Austin, Vanderbilt, Tulane, Harvard, Stanford, University of Washington, Washington University, University of Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Baylor, Abilene Christian University, Texas Christian University, Duke and many other schools.

"Students who take these philanthropy-focused courses appreciate the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experiences in the non-profit space and the ability to effect visible changes in their local communities," said Daniel Levine, one of the U of A course instructors.

The U of A's giving ceremony took place in the Honors Lounge in Gearhart Hall and was attended by Chancellor Charles Robinson, along with a number of staff from the U of A's Division of Advancement, some of the recipients of the grants and previous class presenters including U of A faculty and outside funders who made class presentations as well.

Levine said this course would not have been possible without the Philanthropy Lab, which is an organization that allows students to participate in giving back to their local communities through programs, course offerings and monetary donations.

"Through the lab's support, the course will be offered at the U of A again in the fall of 2024," Levine added. 

For more information or to sign up for future iterations of the Strategic Philanthropy course at the U of A, contact professors Daniel Levine at dlevine@uark.edu and Rogelio Garcia Contreras at rogeliog@uark.edu.

Story by Payton Willhite, Communication and Creative Services InternThis story also appeared in the Fulbright REVIEW publication.

Contacts

Andra Parrish Liwag, executive director of strategic communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-4393, liwag@uark.edu

Payton Willhite, communication and creative services intern
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-4393, powillhi@uark.edu

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