Lasting Moments

A great guest post from our professor, Dr. Lora Warner!

This is the third year I have taught Strategic Philanthropy, and there are moments within each class that remain with me each time. This year’s class is no different.

This year, four groups of students with shared interests studied a community issue that they cared about:  expanding arts opportunities in GB, homelessness/housing, treating addiction, and the mental health of youth.  Student groups researched, talked with people, and studied each issue thoroughly. In doing so, each group become a really strong proponent of its own topic.  The class of 17 developed some natural alliances and divisions as they promoted their own causes.  One Thursday afternoon, we voted tried to choose one issue to work with.  The group deadlocked!  Passions were high.  I heard some “us vs. them” and “it’s not fair.” It was really uncomfortable. One wise student suggested we let this rest over the weekend and give it a break.  So we did.

At that point, I couldn’t help but think that we were like Wisconsin:  polarized, divided, and a bit angry at each other.  For me, this class has always been more about “creating citizens” than awarding money.  The money is a tool, an incentive for students to engage and learn about the community. So, painful as it was, we had wandered into a cool learning opportunity.

When we returned on Tuesday, we tried using the creative problem solving approach of “Getting to Yes,” by Fisher & Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project (one of their assigned readings). It was amazing…I don’t think any of us wanted to continue the semester feeling like there were winners & losers in our class. We created mixed groups of one member from each previous group and first sought some common values or agreed-upon approaches. This resulted in a decision to focus on the needs of youth, and programs that helped people better themselves. Then, the groups tried to creatively combine those four previous topics of concern.  At that point, I had no idea what might happen.

This was when several groups came up with the idea that became the unified goal for our class:

Our goal is to improve the quality of life for at-risk young persons (ages 12-25) with an innovative approach to the prevention or relief of any of the following: substance abuse, homelessness, or mental health problems.  We especially encourage proposals that incorporate the arts.

It was quite an inspiring process for all of us.  Soon, we’ll select a program for funding that we feel will address these important issues in the community.

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98 year-old Woman Demonstrates What It Means to be a Philanthropist

This woman shows us what it means to be a philanthropist. She does not give large amounts of money, she is not an advocate for a large organization. She is herself. However, the person she chooses to be is indeed a philanthropist. It is not with big gestures that we can change the world, and this retired neighbor shows us how. (Thanks to “I Like Giving” for the story).

Views From a Different seat

As I came in to the class as a student in the spring of 2014, I had no idea what this class was all about. All that I did know was that it was going to help me towards my degree in Public Administration. I quickly found out that this class would change the way I see the world around me. Not only through the eyes of giving back to the community with the grant that this class gives out. But by how simple we as individuals have the ability to impact the world around us and the world as a whole. In reading the Singer book A Life You Can Save enlightened us to think we as college students can make a difference in this world even if it is only contributing or volunteering to make a difference in just one individual’s life.

This spring is no different with a little different role in the class it is fun to see fellow students having the same opinion as I now do about making a difference in the world around us. It is also fun to see conflict restitution from a different perspective as many of the in class discussion topics are hot topics with many controversial opinions. One example of this was when the class was deciding what topic to tackle in the Green Bay community. During this discussion many people had differing opinions on what option to pick but in the end finding a common ground between all of us was the best method in solving this problem. It is situations like this that make being a teaching assistant rewarding and fun.

Meet Marleigh!

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Marleigh is a member of the Affordable Housing/Homelessness group in our Strategic Philanthropy class. In order to get to know her, and the cause, we asked her a few questions!

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What is your major and your year in school?

Senior, double majoring in Political Science and Public Administration with an emphasis on Public Management and Policy.

Why are you passionate about Housing/Homelessness?

“I am passionate about homelessness and affordable housing because everyone deserves a safe place to call their own and to make memories in!”

In your opinion, what is the most compelling statistic for this topic?

“One of the more alarming statistics I found on this topic was that there are approximately 1,100 homeless students living in the Green Bay School District.”

What has been your favorite part of class so far?

“My favorite part of the class is being able to plan the event for when our class presents the check to the final selected organization!”

Values and Reflection

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Today in class, we discussed how to evaluate not-for-profits and what criteria is important to us when we are evaluating our proposals next week. We explored different websites such as givewell.org and give.org, both of which are websites that rate not-for-profit organizations on their credibility, financial health and overall practices. This was a very insightful discussion that really got us thinking about what we value and what we want to see out of our proposals.

At the very end of class, we were asked to think about what this class means to us and to put it down into three separate words. The word cloud above is a collection of the words that our class came up to us. It’s pretty interesting to see the different words that we came up with! Are there other words that you would add to this cloud?

Reflections: What Kind of Giver Are YOU? Take Our Quiz to Find Out!

During our last meeting, the class was given the opportunity to reflect on how our views on philanthropy have changed after our discussion of the book, “The Life You Can Save” by Peter Singer. A lot of students said that before the book, they thought of philanthropy as financial giving. Singer brings to light a lot of extreme ways to give, but his ideas also make you think of little things you can do that would make a big impact. This book helps the reader think outside of the box when considering philanthropy. How do YOU view philanthropy? Follow this link to a fun quiz and see how your personality traits can determine what kind of giver you are! http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=what-kind-philanthropist-are-you_1

Guest Speakers 

  

Last week we were joined by the three ladies who started the Strategic Philanthropy class at UWGB. Nancy, Lisa, and Gail brought the idea to UWGB and Dr. Warner was approached to teach the original pilot, and as they said, “The rest is history!”

Nancy, Lisa, and Gail discussed the rough draft RFP with the class,  and gave advice as to where to post it once it was finalized.  We then enjoyed a lengthy discussion about philanthropy in general, and how it is important to learn from the issues but be clear about what you care about. 

They left us with some advice that we would like to share. One person can make a difference–never think that you won’t be able to have an impact.

-BK