As the semester comes to a close, a select group of Mays Business School students have been busy impacting the local Brazos Valley Community. The Mays Strategic Philanthropy course just wrapped up decision making on how to distribute $62,500 in grant funding.

Five nonprofits were selected to receive funding:

It will take a mix of strategy and innovative approaches to achieve Mays Business School’s vision to advance the world’s prosperity, but an effort to “do good” in our local community is one step forward.

Courtesy of the generous support from The Philanthropy Lab and a newfound partnership with the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation’s Community Grant Program, 17 Mays Business School undergraduates were challenged with distributing $62,500 to local nonprofit organizations. Each student assumed the role of a board member while essentially running a private foundation for a semester.

Throughout this process, the student board strived to elevate and empower nonprofits to accomplish their missions.

The student board evaluated 43 nonprofit applications for funding one month into class. 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 organization. Alongside grounding in the ideals present in President H.W. Bush’s call for community service, the student board made decisions with an orientation toward the following principles:

  1. We commit to partner with nonprofits that have leaders of character, have defined strategies, a specified financial need, and purposeful philanthropic objectives.
  2. We commit to maximize the impact of our resources by investing in sustainable, measurable, and responsible methods of achieving the mission.
  3. We commit to pursue strategic partners that understand the short-term realities and understand long-term implications.

Each of these principles helped provide guideposts for students as they sought to determine the “best” way to distribute $62,500.

Through this journey, we were able to feel the pulse of a vibrant nonprofit community. We were able to learn about urgent hunger-related needs, homelessness, dignity for those in unable to walk and incarcerated individuals, men’s holistic personal development, and the need for specially trained dogs to assist the local police department.

Although five organizations received funding, 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. 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. However, don’t let the vast amount of needs distract you from engaging in your community. Take your own step. You might just learn something about how you can play a unique role in addressing needs within your community.

by Kyle Gammenthaler M.S. ’11, Lecturer and Coordinator for Social Impact Initiatives

If you would like to learn more about our nonprofit partners, visit their websites to see how you can get involved.

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