Seventeen members of Mays Business School’s Strategic Philanthropy class got to put their strategic philanthropy skills into practice over the fall semester, then allocate $62,500 to five local nonprofits after doing months of research.
One month into class, the student board evaluated 43 nonprofit applications for funding. The goal of this evaluation was to determine which 10 organizations deserved to receive a more extensive due diligence containing site visits, interviews, and a deeper understanding of the organizations.
Finally, five nonprofits were selected to receive funding. They deal with urgent hunger-related needs, homelessness, dignity for those unable to walk, and incarcerated individuals, men’s holistic personal development, and the need for specially trained dogs to assist the local police department.
So far, the class has distributed just more than $250,000 to 18 organizations – 90 percent within the Brazos Valley. The funds come from The Philanthropy Lab and – new this year – the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation’s Community Grant Program.
Mays Dean Eli Jones recognized the leadership of Kyle Gammenthaler, lecturer and Coordinator for Social Impact Initiatives at Mays. “Our students learn so much about philanthropy, and they learn to recognize giving at a high level,” Jones said of the students’ assumption of roles as board members while essentially running a private foundation for a semester. “They said how hard it is to give money. That’s not something most people understand until they are involved in the process.”
Although five organizations received funding this semester, Gammenthaler said there were many others just as worthy. “This class embraces the difficulty that surrounds the inescapable fact that our resources can’t fully measure up to our needs,” he said. “There are still pressing needs that require significantly more resources to solve, but we’ve taken a step forward. Every step forward is a step closer to solving problems that ail our society.”
Read personal accounts from Gammenthaler and the students.