For thousands of years philanthropy—the desire to help humanity through charitable gifts—has built universities, hospitals, and museums, preserved the arts, fed the hungry, housed the homeless, and most importantly made the world a better place. Philanthropy, students will discover, is not just reserved for the rich, but for anyone interested in serving humanity and making a difference.

This course will be a unique opportunity and experiment in "student philanthropy" because our class will invest a minimum of $12,000* (in real money!) in local nonprofit organizations. This opportunity for grant making is made possible by Students4GivingSM—an initiative of Campus Compact and Fidelity® Charitable Gift FundSM, Fresno Regional Foundation, and a Cohen grant from American Humanics, Inc. Students will make their grant(s) after investigating a need or issue in the community, researching nonprofit organizations that meet that need, and developing a request for proposals to fund specific project(s).

Students will, therefore, have hands-on experiences in philanthropy and community leadership by developing contacts with community organizations and assessing community needs. Learning how to request and evaluate funding proposals as well as how the nonprofit sector is governed, operated, and funded are important parts of the course.

REQUIRED MATERIALS: (All texts available at University Bookstore, 2051 E Shaw, #101 at Cedar.)

• Clotfelter, Charles T. and Thomas Ehrlich, eds. 2001. Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

• Howard, Marshall. 2005. Let’s Have Lunch Together: How To Build Powerful Relationships for Nonprofit Organizations. A Learning Novel for Nonprofits, directed by Arthur Bauer. United States of America: Kings Road Press.

• An email account & online access (The University provides free email accounts to all students. Students may sign up for email online at

• Use of Blackboard Course Management System (
• One mini-bluebook


Connor, Joseph A. and Stephanie Kadel-Taras. 2003. Community Visions, Community Solutions: Grantmaking for Comprehensive Impact. St. Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.


This course has been designed to provide you, the student, with the opportunity to:
1. understand and describe various theories, philosophies, and practices of philanthropy;

2. describe the purpose and structure of nonprofit boards and their relationships to a nonprofit organization;

3. explain the need for fostering positive board/volunteer/staff relationships and the importance of board recognition and evaluation.

4. learn about community dynamics and become able to identify and evaluate community needs through hands-on experience gathering information and doing research through in-class and out-of-class assignments and activities;

5. increase critical thinking abilities related to evaluating information;

6. understand how information gathering and research skills prepare students for meaningful careers and for "living in a community" and being of service to others.

7. build local and regional partnerships with philanthropic community;

8. understand some of the common fundraising methods utilized by nonprofit organizations (specifically those organizations considered tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code);

9. describe the fundraising process from prospect identification, research, and evaluation to stewardship.

10. draft a “request for proposals” (RFP) and solicit funding proposals from local nonprofit organizations;

11. assess fund requests from nonprofit organizations;

12. select and award funds to one or more nonprofit organization

13. enjoy a classroom environment that is interesting, supportive, structured, friendly, and cooperative.

*Special Notes:
• The class is allotted $12,000 but may increase this amount by raising additional funds.
• Any additional funds students raise from donors are tax-deductible and must be submitted in the form of a check payable to the CSUF Foundation (American Humanics Program).
• Community organizations spend considerable time and effort to complete the Requests for Funding Proposal and interact with our students. Thus, the minimum investment is $1,000.
• Conflict of Interest: Faculty and students must disclose any significant relationships they have with any nonprofit organizations (e.g., board member or intern) in the event they submit one or more of those organizations to be considered for an award.
• "Monitoring outcomes": Interested students are encouraged to enroll in SOC 150T Grant Writing and Evaluation in the fall semester to complete this phase of the project in which we will assess the impact of the funds distributed during the spring semester.



A. PARTICIPATION (40 points). VERY IMPORTANT! Because this is an upper division seminar (not lecture), your grade will be largely dependent upon your participation. You are to be in class, on time and present for the entire period (4 tardies/early exits count as one absence), prepared (that means you’ve done the reading BEFORE you come to class), and ready to contribute. An exciting and lively classroom depends upon your keeping up with the readings, coming in with questions you had about the readings, asking questions about material we are discussing in class, and sharing your own experiences as they are relevant to our discussions. Together, we need to promote an atmosphere conducive to learning and understanding. This includes maintaining respect for the ideas and experiences of everyone. In addition, specific tasks regarding the preparation of the RFP and the scoring and assessment of the grant proposals require your participation and input in the timeframe requested.

B. READING CHECKS (50 points). To help ensure your preparation for each class session and participation in discussions on the assigned readings, there will be random reading checks on Blackboard worth ten points each (only your top 5 scores will count). Each will consist of usually five “multiple-choice,” “true-false,” and/or “fill-in-the-blank” questions on the assigned readings for the week. The scoring is as follows: 5 correct = 10 points; 4 correct = 9 points; 3 correct = 7 points; 2 correct = 6 points; 0 or 1 correct = 0 points. You must complete the reading check prior to class on the day specified on Blackboard otherwise you will receive zero points. Each question will appear one at a time on the screen, and you may NOT go back after you have submitted your answer for a particular question. You have 15-20 minutes to complete the reading check, and you MUST complete the reading check the first time you log on (no exceptions).

C. ATTENDANCE. While attendance is taken into consideration for your PARTICIPATION grade, PLEASE NOTE roughly 2% (i.e., 10 points) will be deducted from your TOTAL COURSE grade for every absence after your first one. Five or six absences, then, will drop you approximately one course grade. Non-attendance of the Final counts as two absences. If absent, it is your responsibility to get notes from another student and ask if any announcements or handouts were missed.

D. "FREE WRITING" (15 points). Occasionally, IN CLASS, we will take 1-5 minutes to do some free writing on a particular issue being discussed or read about. Bring your free write journal to each class session for this writing. This assignment will not be graded on content or form but rather on the basis of whether or not you did the assignment and exhibited a fair degree of critical thought.

E. REFLECTION ESSAYS (125 points). Each student will prepare 5 reflection essays (see instructions below). Essays are to be one page*, double-spaced. See course schedule for due dates. Please submit a copy via Blackboard and a hard copy in class.

1. Are you currently involved with organizations on or off campus that promote community service and civic involvement?

If yes, please provide the following information:

• Name and a description of the organization(s) and the nature of your involvement
• The amount of time you devote to these activities
• How you became involved with the organization
• The specific roles or tasks you have taken on

If no, explain why you have chosen not to participate in such organizations.

2. Excluding your current activities, give a history of your involvement with organizations in your community, beginning with your earliest memories. Be sure to include:

• Brief description of the activities
• Amount of time devoted to the activities
• Specific role or tasks performed

3. Think about your family and closest friends. Describe their community service activities and histories. Has their activity or lack of activity influenced the way you think about community service and civic engagement? Explain.

4. Have you or someone in your immediate family ever received any kind of assistance from an individual, a government agency, or any other community organization? If yes, explain. If no, describe the circumstances that enabled you not to require assistance.

5. Describe and comment on your role(s) in our Philanthropy Project (See Module A). In answering this question, be sure to:

  • Identify the nonprofits you submitted to/reviewed for the board and/or the class. Explain how you learned about them, which nonprofits you felt most strongly about, and why you found these nonprofits especially compelling.
  • Describe and comment on any interactions you have had with people from the nonprofit organizations and/or the larger community this semester as a result of this class.

F. BOARD DEVELOPMENT MODULE (75 points) (See Module B for details.)

G. FUND DEVELOPMENT MODULE (60 points) (See Module C for details.)

H. SITE VISIT REFLECTION ESSAY AND STRUCTURED FIELD NOTES/ TRANSCRIPTION (50 points). Each student will prepare a one-page written assessment of the agency site visit, describing the visit and your impressions relevant to inviting the agency to apply for funds. Make note of the agency’s mission statement, overall budget, and potential impact if awarded the grant. Essays are to be one page*, double-spaced (250 words minimum). Please submit a copy via Blackboard and a hard copy in class.
Transcription (15 points): You will transcribe the interview from your site visit via a transcription device (available through the Sociology office), and submit that via Blackboard.

I. CELEBRATION PAPER (30 points). This two-page* paper (500 words minimum) is a reflection and celebration of what you have learned during this semester and is due on the day of the Final. Pick some of the more interesting, important and helpful things you learned and reflect on the following questions: What have you learned about yourself, the nonprofit sector, your community, or others since becoming involved in this course? Did your participation in the grant making experience enhance your understanding of the course material? What suggestions, if any, do you have for improving the philanthropic component of this course? What impact did this philanthropic experience have on your understanding of course concepts, on your thinking, or your behavior? Explain. Have your interactions with others or your community been altered? What was the most important, meaningful, or helpful part of this class? What aspects of the course meant the most or stretched your mind the most? Explain why these phenomena are interesting, important, or helpful to you. Is there something you think that you will take with you and have in your life a year from now? Five or more years from now? How will this impact your life or your future philanthropic and civic engagement activities? Will your relationships with others or with the community and larger society be different? Has the way you feel about yourself now changed from how you felt before this class? If so, how? What do you wish for yourself, for your fellow classmates, for your society, for the world in which you live? These personal reflections are an important part of who you are.

J. FINAL (30 points). The final day will involve a press conference and presentation of the funding awards. Your score on the Final will be based on your involvement in the planning and execution of this special event.


1  I encourage each of you to contact me if you have concerns about the course or your work.
Please don’t hesitate to inform me of extreme emergencies.


Percentage of total grade Assignment Points possible

26% Reflection Essays (5 X 25 points each) 125 points
11% Board Development Case Study Outline 50 points
11% Reading Checks 50 points
7% Participation 35 points
7% Site Visit Reflection Essay 35 points
7% Fund Development Reflection Essay 35 points
6% FINAL 30 points
6% Celebration Paper 30 points
5% Fund Development Stakeholder Spreadsheet 25 points
5% Board Meeting Reflection Essay 25 points
4% “Free Writing” Journal 20 points
3% Site Visit Transcription 15 points

There are 475 total points possible in this course. Grades follow the standard university scale: 90% and above is an A; 80-89% is a B, etc. Grades will NOT be curved.

A = 475 – 428 points
B = 427 – 380 points
C = 379 – 333 points
D = 332 – 285 points
F = 0 – 284 points


Week 1 1/15
Foundations of Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector; Introductions to each other, & this course
Facilitated by Dr. Jackie Ryle
• Preface & Introduction in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector
• Readings on Board Development on Blackboard

Week 2 1/22
Trust, Service, & the Common Purpose Reflection Essay #1 due
Staff & Board Member Roles in Fundraising
Facilitated by Dr. Jackie Ryle
Guest Presentation: Gary Schulz
• Appendix in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector
• Readings on Board Development on Blackboard

Week 3 1/29
Reflections on the Foundations of Nonprofits & Reflection Essay #2 due
Board Development
Facilitated by Dr. Jackie Ryle
• Ch. 1 in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector

Week 4 2/5
Field Research & the Nonprofit Sector in the 1990s Board Case Study due
The Evolving Role of American Foundations & DRAFT RFP in class
Grant Management
Guest Presentations: Drs. Helsel, Kubal, & Griffin
• Ch. 2 in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector
• Readings re: field research on Blackboard

Week 5 2/12
Case Statements & Development Plans
Draft RFP materials due
• Readings available on Blackboard

Week 6 2/19
Powerful Relationship Building Reflection Essay #3 due
• Read Let’s Have Lunch Together (Marshall Howard)

Week 7 2/26
Individual Donors, Donor Identification &
Reflection Essay #4 due
Maintenance: Begin planning for Awards Event
• Readings available on Blackboard

Week 8 3/4
The Economy & Corporate Philanthropy
Guest Presentation: Joe Martinez
• Ch. 4 in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector
• Ch. 5 in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector

Week 9 3/11
Special Events & Donor Recognition
Stakeholder Spreadsheet due
Guest Presentation: Ashley Howard
• Readings available on Blackboard

3/17-21 SPRING BREAK Review & Score Proposals on Blackboard

Week 10 3/25
Capital Campaigns & Planned Giving
Discuss & Select Finalists
• Readings available on Blackboard

Week 11 4/1
Reinventing Philanthropy RFP Finalists
• Ch. 6 in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector
Oral Presentations

Week 12 4/8
Communities, Networks, & the Future of Philanthropy
• Ch. 11 in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector

Week 13 4/15
Philanthropy & Outcomes: Submit grant
Dilemmas in the Quest for Accountability recommendations to Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
• Ch. 21 in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector

Week 14 4/22
Donor Panel
Stakeholder Mtg. Reflection Essay due
• Interactive Q & A
• Ch. 2 in Community Visions, Community Solutions
(on Blackboard)

Week 15 4/29
The World We Must Build
Reflection Essay #5 due
• Ch. 24 in Philanthropy & the Nonprofit Sector Notify Grant Awardees

Week 16 5/6
Final Event Planning and Course Wrap-up
Board Meeting Reflection Essay due

FINAL Tuesday, 5/13 Award Presentations
Celebration Paper due 5:45 – 7:45 pm online by end of Finals


The following steps serve as guidelines for this portion of the course:

  1. Students will be assigned or self-select into two or three workgroups, called Student Community Boards.
  2. Faculty and American Humanics Program staff will designate one of the community needs to investigate and students will identify an additional need or two. For this semester, one of the community needs will be “health/healthcare/community health.”
  3. Faculty and students will compile a list of appropriate nonprofit organizations in a position to address the identified community needs.
  4. Once a list of potential nonprofits is compiled, the class narrows the list down to between four and eight 501(c)(3) organizations for each issue.
  5. Students will arrange a meeting with the executive director or board president/chair and conduct a group site visit with each of prospective agencies that have nominated for an invitation to apply for funds.
  6. Students determine which organizations (between four and six for each issue) will be invited to submit a proposal in response to our Request for Funding Proposal (RFP).
  7. Faculty and/or students determine the RFP and evaluation criteria to be used and send it to selected nonprofit agencies with a cover letter and deadline information.
  8. Upon review of the applications, the class invites the nonprofit finalists (two or three for each issue) to speak to the class about their proposal and funding needs.
  9. Student Community Boards evaluate the proposals and make decisions about funding awards.
  10. An awards event will be planned to present the funding awards to the selected nonprofit organizations.

*Adapted from the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project through the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement at Northern Kentucky University (


The first three sessions of class will focus on the mission and structure of nonprofit organizations and boards of directors and be facilitated by Dr. Jackie Ryle.

Outline (Subject to change):

DAY 1 (3 hours):
I. Introductions (name and major; experience in volunteering and experience with nonprofit sector; plans for using this course/program)
II. Brainstorming session
Share innovative ideas for more effective board structures, organization, & participation
III. Foundation of the Course (evolution of nonprofits)
IV. Process
Form small groups of 5 to 6
Reflect on information in handouts/experiences
Meet in small groups, alternating with full group discussions, to fulfill the following:
Small Group Session One - 30-60 minutes
1. Each group will develop a case study nonprofit agency
2. Group members assume roles: Board members, Executive Director, volunteer, founder
3. Define the purpose of the agency - give it a name - write it out

DAY 2 (3 hours):
Full group report out – discussion
Small Group Session Two - 45 minutes
4. Define the purpose of the agency - give it a name - write it out
5. Develop a mission statement - write it out
6. Deliberate on and explain the purpose and structure of your nonprofit board and its relationship to the agency - include the use of/need for standing and ad hoc committees - identify for your agency - write it out
Full group report out - discussion
Small Group Session Three - 45 minutes
7. Determine strategies for determining staff support needs for your Board and committees (write it out)
8. Develop techniques for recruitment and retention of volunteers to serve the agency - and on committees (write it out)
Full group report out - discussion
Small Group Session Four - 75 minutes
9. Develop strategies for recruiting and retaining members of the Board of Directors (write it out)
10. Determine and list elements of staff/Board roles and responsibilities - relate to your agency (write it out)
11. Discuss the importance of Board recognition and evaluation; develop a recognition and evaluation process for your Board (write it out)
12. Discuss and list legal and ethical issues which could arise with your Board of Directors – (write it out)

DAY 3 (3 hours):
Full group report out - discussion
V. Reflection of learning and application
ASSIGNMENTS (75 points):
1. Individually, prepare a written outline of your case study, including the issues decided by your group and a brief reflection on the process and outcomes of these exercises. Papers should be between five and ten pages, typed and double spaced, with a cover sheet. Submit via Blackboard ONLY on or before the fourth week of class (50 points).
2. Students will attend ONE board meeting of a local nonprofit organization (options to be made available) between now and the end of the semester and submit a 250-300 word “debriefing” or “assessment” of the board meeting in relation to what was learned in class (25 points; due the 16th week of class).


Stakeholder Identification. Determine what project/organization for which you are raising money. Profile four characteristics of your ideal stakeholder (“Don’t chase money; identify and chase strong relationships”). Generate a targeted list of 5-10 potential prospects for funding of a specific request and organize prospective stakeholders on a spreadsheet that includes name, title, company/organization, contact information, how you or the referrer knows the prospect, and a column for stakeholder evaluation.

Stakeholder Evaluation and Prioritizing. Once you have generated a list of stakeholders, you must evaluate and prioritize that listing based on accessibility, influence, financial potential, strength of relationship to you or the referrer, and match to the specific project/organizational mission. Your spreadsheet of stakeholders is to be submitted via Blackboard by the 9th week of class (25 points).

Securing Introductions. If you are relying on someone you know referring you to another person, you need to secure an introduction from the relationship holder to at least one of your prospects. Provide the referrer talking points and provide step by step coaching (See Marshall Howard’s book).

First Contact and Setting the Appointment. Make contact with at least one prospective stakeholder. Inform the individual of your enrollment in an American Humanics’ course that requires learning about the individual’s involvement with community-based nonprofit organizations, his/her positive and negative experiences with nonprofit organizations, etc. Develop an initial picture about the person, ask one or two open-ended questions, and set the appointment for a one to one meeting.

One to One Meeting. Conduct a relationship-building meeting with at least one stakeholder. Ask questions and share personal information, such as what you are studying at the University, what you see yourself doing after graduation, and, if you are in the AH Program, why you are in the AH Program and what some of your experiences have been in the AH Program thus far. This is NOT an interview assignment. It is a two-way communication and relationship-building interaction. The dialogue should involve a give and take about each other’s backgrounds and involvements with community-based nonprofit organizations among other things.

Deliver a “Touch” or “Win” to the Stakeholder. If possible, follow up your one to one meeting with a “touch” or a “win” for the stakeholder (examples to be provided in class).

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT: Prepare a ONE-PAGE ESSAY in which you describe your communication with the individual stakeholder, evaluate the likelihood of the individual accepting an invitation to invest in the project/organization you originally had in mind, and personally reflect on your experience during this project. If an “ask” is made before the end of the semester, report the outcome. (Due the 14th week of class; 35 points).