Fund Proposal: The George Washington University

The George Washington University, Washington, DC

Educational Framework and Account Management

The concept behind the Students4Giving Fund is a perfect match for the evolving curriculum in social philanthropy and non-profit/non-governmental management in the Human Services (HmSr) Program at The George Washington University. The goal of the program is to prepare undergraduate students for effective leadership roles in not-for-profit agencies supporting or serving people and communities experiencing need. We believe our mission is consistent with the goals of the Students4Giving initiative (see web page for additional details on this program.

The program currently offers two courses within which the Students4Giving initiative would fit perfectly (syllabi available upon request).The first course, offered fall 2008, is Program Planning and Development for Service Agencies. Through case studies and on-site field experiences, students examine and analyze processes through which agency needs are assessed and programs planned. The curriculum involves a professional-quality Program Evaluation component, which would be a good fit for the development of a set of evaluation criteria and the formulation of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the grantmaking process.

The second course, Organization and Administration in the Human Services, offered spring 2009, provides an introduction to organizational theory and program administration in non-school agencies, including staff recruitment and development, fiscal operations, personnel/program supervision, facilities, and effective community relations. Students study non-profit funding processes, and partner with community-based organizations to write grant proposals to be submitted for funding. Including a component into the course whereby grants are reviewed and recommended for funding would add a welcome and pedagogically sound element to the students’ learnings. These and other HmSr courses, as well as business and public management courses, would benefit from a continuation of this initiative.

Educational Goals and Plans for Assessment:

The goals of this initiative are consistent with the existing goals of the HmSr Program, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, and The George Washington University. These goals are: 1) improve upon existing community-based study that involves both grant making and fundraising dimensions by providing a framework for philanthropic education; 2) encourage long-term educational use of donor-advised funds through the development of infrastructure for continued growth, grant making and sustainability; 3) provide opportunities for students to manage the philanthropic process (i.e. creating a philanthropic mission statement, researching nonprofits, developing RFP’s and selection criteria, selecting grant recipients, etc.) and learn to manage charitable funds to achieve stated philanthropic goals; 4) provide additional opportunities for students to learn about the grant making process and understand the impact of their choices; 5) strengthen already existing campus infrastructure for education focused on the nonprofit sector and the resources that sustain it.

All Human Services courses require that students participate in co-curricular service learning and community-based research/learning. They require a reflection component as well. We propose to continue our assessment process via the end-of-semester “post-mortem discussion” conducted between the faculty and students, and the written Reflection Essay (sample available upon request). We propose to create a set of reflection prompts that speak specifically to the activities of the Students4Giving Fund in that assessment activity. Also, a log will be kept by the Program Administrator and her student assistant that will document program milestones, deliverables, progress, successes and challenges during the program.

Supporting Students in the Grantmaking Process

Students will be supported in the process via the course curriculum, the faculty, student assistant, Program Administrator, Office of Community Service (OCS), GW’s development offices, and technical assistance from Campus Compact throughout the development of the grantmaking process, including the identification of community needs, grantee evaluation and selection, impact assessment, and fundraising for mission sustainability. The faculty proposed as the Program Administrator is the faculty of record for the project’s courses. This faculty member has received approval from her dean that, should GW be granted funding by Campus Contract, her work on the initiative during spring 2009 would be appropriate for her sabbatical research scheduled for that semester (personal communication with Peg Barratt, Dean of Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, June 2, 2008). Therefore, the initiative would benefit because both a faculty member and a program administrator would provide support (CVs and letter of support from the dean and OCS available upon request).

In fall 2008, students would set up an advisory board, develop a hierarchy of community needs, a draft RFP, and evaluation criteria for submitted proposals. They could meet with OCS staff members to discuss community agency applicants. In spring 2009, students would distribute the RFPs to qualified 501(c)(3)s, evaluate submitted proposals (with particular attention to community impact and sustainability), and select those rated most highly. We anticipate that approximately 70-75% of the total of $15,000 would be distributed in 2009, with awards in the $3,000-$3,500 range. As the proposed courses have always involved partnerships with non-profit organizations, we feel that these relationships offer GW a distinct advantage over institutions that may not have such intimate knowledge of community needs and human services programs. Also, the OCS’s database of partnering community organizations will be made available to this initiativeÑwhich is a tremendous supportive resource. Furthermore, we will work with the Foundation Center of Washington to recruit expert guest lecturers and resources for the project (letter of support available upon request). Finally, a university-sponsored “Community Awards” ceremony will be held in early May, during which the funded organizations will be celebrated and recognized.

Sustaining Financial Support

GW is still in the process of creating a vibrant culture of philanthropy, among both internal and external constituencies. This initiative has the potential to increase philanthropy among internal constituencies in particular. Students could speak to the CCAS department chairs, encouraging faculty to support the project. They could also appeal directly to their own professors. They could speak to senior advancement officials about inserting information about Campus Connect into the annual faculty and staff appeal. Students could reach out to the local Foggy Bottom community, to their peers and to their families. Students should also be willing to participate, to the extent that they are able, with a gift of their own, or by conducting fund-raising events. Doing so demonstrates their commitment to philanthropy and enables them to solicit gifts from others with confidence (i.e., “I hope you’ll join me in supporting this initiative”). Local businesses and corporations, both large and small, may be willing to support these projects. Many corporations focus their giving locally where they are headquartered. For example, the on-campus Starbucks may be willing to distribute information or commit a percentage of profits for a day. Given the unique dual purpose of funding worthwhile projects and engaging the next generation of philanthropists, we believe the future funding of this initiative by DC’s corporate community is probable. In sum, we will be aggressive in assuring the sustainability of this initiative into the future.

2008 Students4Giving Recipients

About Students4Giving

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