As the fall semester comes to an end, a group of 18 students and five Brazos Valley nonprofit organizations celebrate a semester’s worth of hard work. For the past three months, students from the Strategic Philanthropy class at Mays Business School have engaged the local community in a unique experiential learning opportunity.
With financial support from George H.W. Bush Library Foundation, The Philanthropy Lab, and The Bethancourt Family, students determined how to allocate $72,000 to local nonprofit organizations. By reviewing more than 50 applications, visiting and interviewing leadership from the top 10 organizations, these 18 students were put in a position to make challenging decisions on how to distribute these funds.
The check celebration was made even more special as the partnership with the George H.W. Bush Library Foundation allowed the class to participate in President Bush’s legacy of service. The check presentation event occurred the day before Bush was brought back to College Station for burial at his presidential library.
The course instructor, Kyle Gammenthaler, quoted President H.W. Bush by saying, “Be bold in your caring, be bold in your dreaming and above all else, always do your best.” The five nonprofit organizations chosen to receive funds personify caring for their community, dreaming boldly, and doing their very best to impact the Brazos Valley for good.
Prior to announcing the nonprofit recipients, Jess Jiongo ’19, a senior university studies-business major, provided the audience with an overview of the semester. She used a blend of humor and poignant thoughts to masterfully retell the story of the Strategic Philanthropy course. She mentioned three takeaways from the semester.
- All 18 students define “good” differently, but it is still good.
- We have to be intentional and put ourselves in positions to do good and meet the needs of those around us.
- We learned what it looks like be strategic and educated givers.
To conclude the night, teams of students presented oversized checks ranging from $5,000 to $21,400 to five nonprofit organizations. This semester’s recipients are Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach, The BEE Community, Save Our Streets Ministries, Still Creek Ranch, and Voices for Children. The organizations’ missions range from providing meaningful work to adults with disabilities to improving the lives of children in foster care. As George H.W. Bush once said, “no definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others.” Although each organization has a unique mission, they all have one thing in common. These nonprofits have committed to the ultimate call of serving others, which impacted our students and inspired them to take steps toward making a difference.
See below for more information on the nonprofit recipients.