GREEN BAY – Over the past five years, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Strategic Philanthropy class has awarded $55,000 to local organizations dedicated to an important need in the Brown County area. Each year, these funds are made possible by a grant from the Learning by Giving Foundation founded by Doris Buffet (sister of American business magnate Warren Buffet).
This year’s recipient is Curative Connections. Curative created what UW-Green Bay students believed to be the best proposal to promote the addition of the arts into the lives of older adults, particularly those facing Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related disorders. Students were inspired by the knowledge and passion of the staff members at Curative and believed that their proposal to introduce the arts into their adult day care programs would have a dramatic impact on their well-being. The class also congratulates two other finalists —The Art Garage and the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s Artisan Center (in collaboration with the Aging & Disability Resource Center and St. Norbert College).
“Students in this class learn how to apply their time and talent strategically to community issues,” says Prof. Lora Warner, who teaches the Strategic Philanthropy class. “They research needs by analyzing LIFE Study data, look for effective nonprofits in that field, and promote a cause they care about. Not only did students learn ways to give, they learned a great deal about the growing numbers of people that experience dementia and how participating in the arts can help them.”
Throughout the semester, UW-Green Bay students have researched topics such as hunger, nutritional health in children, youth empowerment in the community, and arts in the lives of older adults. They developed a request for proposal, reviewed proposed projects, and site-visited three area organizations. Students used a method of majority rule voting to choose the eventual recipient, Curative Connections.
This year’s class studied the need for arts in the lives of older adults and agreed that their $10,000 should address this important, and often overlooked, community need. More than five million people in the United States are currently living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and involvement in the arts has been shown to increase mental health resilience and coping skills in this population.
“As people age and are forced to rely on caregivers, their sense of agency suffers,” Kendra Schmeling, a student in the class said, “Participating in the arts helps them to regain a feeling of empowerment and creativity, and it really boosts their quality of life.” More information can be found on the UWGB students’ blog: https://uwgbsp.blogspot.com/
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,030 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.
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– Photos by Amanda Jo Danihel, Marketing and University Communication Intern