Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s “Philanthropy: Civic Engagement Through Giving Class” announced today (May 6, 2021) that a $10,000 grant will be given to the nonprofit organization “Journey to Adult Success.” The organization provides a transitional home for youth aging out of foster care and other opportunity youth. The organization’s programming includes individualized coaching for job and transportation support and a range of life skills needed for at-risk youth as they enter adulthood.
Grant funding is available by the Learning by Giving Foundation.
The class chose to award this grant after conducting community research in the Green Bay area. This year, the class has studied the issue of youth who are not working nor in school—also known as “Opportunity Youth.” Without help, many of these youth go on to become homeless or drift into other difficult situations. Nonprofit organizations like our recipient help opportunity youth to gain some important life skills, get on a path to a career or pursue their education. Early in the semester, students investigated four community issues of concern: growing need for job skills and readiness, concerns about alcohol abuse, declining civic engagement, and too few arts opportunities for youth. Students conducted virtual interviews with nonprofit finalists to learn about their proposed uses of the funding and held deliberations online.
“The student philanthropy course has definitely changed my life for the better,” said student Molly Gwitt. “Now, I find myself wanting to be more intentional in the way I donate my money and volunteer my time. I am very excited Journey to Adults Success is the recipient of our grant because foster youth are more at risk to suffer from homelessness. It feels good to be a part of an upstream solution to this growing problem.”
“Philanthropy: Civic Engagement Through Giving” is a hands-on approach to help college students develop commitment to, and engagement in, the community. Classmates agree on a cause, and then go through a process of vetting nonprofit organizations that address that cause and selecting a recipient.
“Many of our students come into the class feeling as though philanthropy is for the rich,” says Associate Prof. Lora Warner who teaches the course. “I aim to empower them to be strategic in how they invest their money, but also their voices and their time to make a difference. This year it was rewarding to watch their awareness grow about the pressures that face opportunity youth. Now it seems that every student has developed insight and a commitment to do something to help.”
Warner says it’s the only Learning by Giving course in Wisconsin. It is being offered for the ninth time.
This year’s teaching assistant, Amanda Loehrke, had previously taken the course in Spring of 2020 when the class quickly transferred to a virtual format in March. With the prior experience of finishing the class virtually last year, Amanda was able to help support the class’s online format this year.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Philanthropy class again. The course offers a unique hands-on approach to philanthropy and provides important insight into grantmaking that students don’t often receive,” Loehrke remarked. “I am very proud of the students for their hard work over the semester and being diligent philanthropists when researching community needs, learning how to evaluate proposals, and deciding to award Journey to Adult Success as this year’s grant recipient!”