(COLLEGE STATION, Texas / August 16, 2019)  Mays Business School’s Strategic Philanthropy course, in partnership with the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, is currently accepting applications from local area nonprofit organizations for the Community Grant Program. To be eligible, an organization must be a nonprofit entity based in the Brazos Valley and have at least one full year of operation. Applicants must submit a completed application detailing their proposal for funds to be used the following year. Applications can be submitted through the Strategic Philanthropy website at mays.tamu.edu/strategic-philanthropy. The deadline to submit applications is 5:00 PM on Friday, September 13, 2019. The 2019-2020 Community Grant recipients will be announced in December.

Kyle Gammenthaler, Lecturer and Coordinator of Social Impact Programs at Mays Business School stated, “We are excited to continue our partnership with the George and Barbara Bush Foundation as they help provide resources for a dynamic educational experience while impacting the local community. We encourage all eligible organizations based in the Brazos Valley to apply.”

ABOUT THE STRATEGIC PHILANTHROPY COURSE AT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

The Strategic Philanthropy course began in the 2015-2016 school year as a unique educational experience for undergraduate business students. Since then, we have distributed almost $500,000 in funding to local community and international nonprofit organizations thanks to partnerships with various foundations and individuals. We will continue this tradition by partnering with the George and Barbara Bush Foundation in the upcoming fall semester to manage the Community Grant Program.

Some of the past recipients of the Strategic Philanthropy course have been Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach, BEE Community, Northway Farms, Health for All, Elder Aid, Boys and Girls Club, Down Syndrome Association of the Brazos Valley, Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, Mercy Project, SOS Ministries, Family Promise, K9S4COPS, Mobility Worldwide, Rebuilding BCS, Children’s Miracle Network, BCS Marathon, and Voices for Children.

 

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Grant and Media Contact:

Kyle Gammenthaler

Lecturer

Mays Business School

kyleg@tamu.edu

979.845.1037

 

Categories: Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Strategic Philanthropy

The feeling never gets old, Kyle Gammenthaler says.

Helping Mays Business School students understand the nuts and bolts of philanthropy by giving away up to $75,000 themselves is always thrilling.

Kyle, who teaches the Strategic Philanthropy class as coordinator of the Certificate in Nonprofit and Social Innovation at Mays, told a crowd of about eighty who gathered for the semester’s check presentations on April 29 that it all started in 2015, when he had “a brilliant idea—that it would be great if students gave away money in a class.”

And this spring, the course’s students, funding recipients, and donors celebrated a huge milestone—passing the $500,000 mark in total giving to organizations in Bryan-College Station.

From $0 to $500,000 in Three Years

With support from Mays administration and generous donors—notably The Philanthropy Lab, a Fort-Worth-area organization that supports about twenty such classes around the country—students provided the first round of funding in spring 2016.

Now, thanks to additional donors, notably the VanLoh family and Cheryl Mellenthin, the class is one of the most successful of its kind in the country.

The VanLohs began donating after seeing the transformational experience their daughter, business honors graduate Grace VanLoh ’19, had as a student in the very first class.

For Cheryl Mellenthin, visiting with Mays students on a Philanthropy Friday was all it took.

“She texted me that night and asked, ‘Where do I send the check?’” Kyle says.

John Sharp ’72, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, attended the April 29 celebration and later said, “The Mays Business School’s philanthropy program is a great example of putting the Aggie values to work.”

Former Student Body President Amy Sharp ’19, a business honors graduate who took the class previously, announced at the event that the two representatives present from The Philanthropy Lab—both Aggies—had decided to give an additional $10,000 in honor of Chancellor Sharp’s visit.

“This has to be the easiest $10,000 Chancellor Sharp ever gave!” she said.

Student-Driven Impact in the Brazos Valley

The eighteen students in the May 2019 class funded eight organizations.

Marketing major and class member Shelby Edwards ’19 says a Charles Dickens quote inspired her to sign up: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

But for Shelby, the class proved to be life-changing.

“I know that what I learned about working with others to make decisions and about how I can make a real impact, even as a younger person, will influence me not only in my profession, but in my personal life, as well,” she says.

The class started the semester by learning about philanthropy and how nonprofits work in general, with a focus on strategic giving and the “why” behind charitable giving.

They crafted their own mission statement as the “why” to guide their decisions: “to thoughtfully invest in nonprofits in the Brazos Valley to move toward their visions and build better communities.”

Next, they chose ten nonprofits for closer review and broke into smaller groups to visit two organizations each. They then shared what they learned with the others and used their strategic approach to make the final decisions on which organizations to fund.

“Giving the money away was an absolute joy,” Shelby says. “The nonprofits showed us gaps in our community that we had not seen before. We were amazed at what they do to make life better for people here.

“My takeaway is that we all have the ability to give money, or time, or effort, not ‘one day,’ but right now, even if we are young and just starting out. We are a generation that can make a difference!”

A Simple but Life-Changing Idea

Business honors Jimmie Fields ’21 explained the powerful concept that inspired the class to fund OnRamp.

“Entrepreneurship is about finding the main pressure point and exploiting it,” he says. “The Jennings family has done just this in the Bryan-College Station area by giving reliable, pre-owned cars to people in need.”

The class gave $11,000 to cover the cost of two cars. OnRamp has provided 23 cars since the organization was founded about eighteen months ago. Other local charities refer clients to the Jennings family for consideration.

“As a pastor at a local church, I meet a lot of single moms who are near poverty and who cannot afford reliable transportation,” Blake Jennings says. “As a result, they find it hard to hold down a job, hard to get their kids to school, and hard to get to doctors’ appointments. My wife and I wanted to do something about it—to serve others just as we encourage our congregation to serve others.”

The Transformational Effect of Mays Philanthropy

Students are transformed by the class in many ways.

For example, Mays graduate Zach Marbach ’17, who took the inaugural class in spring 2016, is now an Associate Program Director with The Philanthropy Lab, as is fellow Aggie Megan Mader ’12. In addition, other students have joined the boards of the nonprofits represented or otherwise made charitable giving a priority in their lives.

“We are incredibly grateful to all who entrust our students to make life-changing decisions with their money,” Kyle Gammenthaler says. “Our next goal: to pass the one-million-dollar mark.”

In addition to OnRamp, the following local charities received funding this semester:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network
  • Health For All
  • Scotty’s House
  • Sexual Assault Resource Center
  • United Way of the Brazos Valley
  • VOOM Foundation

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, News, Programs, Selfless service, Staff, Strategic Philanthropy, Students, Texas A&M

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.

Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach

The BEE Community

Save Our Streets Ministries

Still Creek Ranch

Voices for Children

 

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Strategic Philanthropy, Students, Texas A&M