Students of the Baylor University Philanthropy Lab course presented a portion of more than $50,000 to seven local nonprofits Tuesday in the North Village Community Center.
The Once Upon a Time Foundation, a Fort Worth-based program, operates the Philanthropy Lab and provides the money students decide how to distribute. The foundation works with universities across the country, including Harvard University and the University of Chicago.
This is the third semester a Baylor class has given to local nonprofits.
Andy Hogue, director of Baylor’s Philanthropy and Public Service Program and an honors program lecturer, taught the course.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity to work with and collaborate with organizations and folks over the community and to be able to expose our students to the important work these folks do — not just expose and learn from them but being able to tangibly contribute to the health of these organizations,” Hogue said.
The largest donation went to The Cove, a program for underprivileged students of Waco Independent School District. It received $12,520 to help move into a building.
Cheryl Pooler, The Cove’s homelessness liaison, accepted the check with Waco ISD representative Kathy Wigtil.
“It’s a pinch-me moment,” Pooler said. “It took a whole bunch of people coming together. . . . It’s a wonderful collaboration.”
Creative Waco received $5,000 for the production of a video as part of an application for part of Waco to become a state-designated cultural district.
“This is fantastic for us,” Creative Waco Director Fiona Bond said. “It will bring benefits to all kinds of people in Waco. Even people who don’t think they’re interested in the arts. If Waco is known as a cultural hub and a place that is vibrant culturally, it becomes a place people want to visit, it becomes a place where businesses want to relocate, it becomes a place where people want to have their early career experiences.”
Students not only broke into teams to work with organizations, but also served as board of directors in voting for funds.
“As college students I feel like we don’t have a lot of money to give away,” accounting senior Sarah Underwood said. “So this is a really unique opportunity for college students to gain that mindset now, and then going forward in our future when we do have more money and more time, we have that philanthropic mindset.”
An unexpected snag arose when students discovered their total amount of donations exceeded the $50,000 allotment by $335. It was solved when they decided to cover the difference personally, with each student contributing $16.
“They put their money where their mouth is,” Baylor first lady Alice Starr said. “That’s true philanthropy.”