Our Strategic Philanthropy class has the happy task of granting $10,000 to a local organization. It’s a great task and a great chance to make a difference….but where do we start? How do we decide which of the many worthy causes to give to? What is our criteria? Which areas of need to we want to focus on? Oh, where to start?!
Yesterday, our class was lucky to have Dr. Martha Ahrendt, Vice President of Community Engagement for the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation as a guest. She had many words of wisdom regarding what to look for in a good organization, what to look at in a grant application, and most importantly, what needs are most important here in our local community.
Dr. Ahrendt discussed many issues such as elderly neglect and abuse, domestic violence, alcohol and other drug abuse, at-risk children and youth, women’s programs, and transportation issues in rural areas. It can seem kind of daunting to focus in on just a few issues as a class when there seem to be so many worthy causes. Do we want to focus on human services, education, arts and culture, health, environmental issues….? There are so many to discuss.
Tomorrow should be an interesting session, as we are all assigned to consider two areas of need and bring our findings on them and supporting organizations to class. Personally, I am concerned about quality of life in rural areas – giving youth/young adults a reason to want to stay post graduation – so local economies can continue to grow and be sustainable. Another concern of mine is educational opportunities in the rural parts of our area. There are simply not as many areas of study available to students in rural communities as in the city. I think just because someone lives in a smaller community, doesn’t mean they have to miss out on some educational aspects.
Our class has our work cut out for us, but I think we are up to the challenge. We are ready to help do some good. 🙂