Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Students4Giving students award $10,000 in grants to local nonprofits

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2016Students4GivingPCC’s Students4Giving class presented $10,000 worth of grants to three local nonprofit organizations, PROWUS, Portland YouthBuilders and Royal Family KIDSas part of a term-long project focusing on student philanthropy.

As part of the course “Sylvania Business Administration 208: Introduction to Nonprofits and Philanthropy,” students chose to focus on agencies supporting at-risk youth in the Portland area. The class put out a call for applications, vetted and visited the nonprofits in consideration. The three finalists were carefully chosen and discussed by the class.

In every Students4Giving class we have people who have been foster children, homeless, incarcerated, struggled with addiction and challenged by disability,” said Cynthia Killingsworth, instructor of Students4Giving. “Our students have lived the issues we want to address in our society and they need to be part of the solutions. I believe Students4Giving allows them to recognize the value of their contributions.”

At the ceremony in early June, PROWUS received $4,000 to help fund music lessons for low-income students in Portland; Portland YouthBuilders was awarded $3,000 for a youth project that rebuilds computers and and helps teach seniors how to use them; and Royal Family KIDS was granted $3,000 to fund a summer camp for foster youth.

“This class has really been an eye opener for me, allowing me the space and time to come to my own conclusions about the complexity of social entrepreneurship and how to run a financially stable organization that truly serves the people through its work,” Melanie Troutman, a student in this year’s class. “I really enjoyed learning about what defines a successful nonprofit: creativity, flexibility, and collaboration. I now feel like I have a compass to help me navigate the nonprofit sector.”

The Students4Giving class at PCC is one of five academic schools in the nation selected nine years ago to participate in the Campus Compact and Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund Initiative creating student advised funds offering grants to nonprofit organization in their communities.

This year the class partnered with Doris Buffett’s Learning by Giving Foundation, which donated $5,000 matching funds to the $5,000 Portland Community College had already raised.

The Learning by Giving Foundation only funds undergraduate courses at colleges and universities across the country offering high-quality experiential for-credit courses in philanthropy (classes that combine the study of theory with the practice of philanthropy). PCC is the only community college that the Learning by Giving Foundation has provided funds to. 

“I’m so grateful for Doris Buffett and her Learning by Giving Foundation for its belief in an urban community college,” Killingsworth added.

To date, the Students4Giving class has raised more than $89,000 and awarded grants to 26 nonprofit organizations in the surrounding communities.

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