UW-Green Bay philanthropy class announces $21,000 in grants

Foundations Health and Wholeness/Boys and Girls Clubs, Golden House, CASA and Howe Community Resource Center to Benefit

Green Bay, Wis.—A University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Philanthropy class announced today (May 5, 2020) the recipients of $21,000 in grants to assist area non-profit organizations, which work with at-risk youth in areas that address mental health.

The class chose to address the issue after conducting community research in the Green Bay area. The UW-Green Bay students recognized that there will be an increased need to work with at-risk youth who are going through this traumatic time. Due to Gov. Evers’ stay-at-home orders, the students conducted virtual interviews with nonprofit finalists to learn about their proposed uses of the funding and held deliberations online.

“How often does a student get to give away a grant? We’re usually the ones being interviewed, not doing the interviews,” said student Leslie Lee.  “I learned that organizations are working hard at adapting to the safer-at-home order and contributing in their own way to the needs of the people they serve. No matter who is chosen, I think we can all agree that each organization is doing great things to help our community.”

The grants were as follows:

—An anonymous donor provided $10,000 of which UW-Green Bay students awarded to a collaboration between the Boys and Girls Clubs of Green Bay and Foundations Health and Wholeness for use in maintaining an innovative program of counseling, Youth Mental Health Matters, and the Zen Dens at the two area clubhouses. Foundations and Boys and Girls Club work cooperatively to reach out to at-risk youth who attend the Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the year. Counseling is provided on site at the club locations by counselors trained and overseen by Foundations.

—$10,000 provided by the Learning by Giving Foundation was divided in half, with $5,000 awarded to Golden House for technology and programming needed to reach youth impacted by domestic abuse. The remaining $5,000 was granted to CASA of Brown County (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for activities and resources for the Fostering Futures program.

Maddy Didier, a Public Administration student, won the national Learning By Giving Foundation Blog Contest and chose to award the $1,000 grant to the Howe Community Resource Center. “I learned so much about the achievement gap when I interviewed staff at Howe earlier in the semester, ” Didier said. “Then later, I was impressed with the way the Howe team worked together adapting to the needs of their community when the pandemic unfolded.”

The UW-Green Bay class, “Philanthropy: Civic Engagement Through Giving,” is a hands-on approach to help college students develop commitment to, and engagement in, the community. Classmates agree on a cause, and then go through a process of vetting nonprofit organizations that address that cause and selecting a recipient. “The students learn how to act on their values to make a positive impact,” said Associate Professor Lora Warner who teaches the course, the only Learning by Giving course in Wisconsin. It is being offered for the eighth time.

Early in the semester, students investigated four community issues of concern: Prison Reentry, Mental Health, The Achievement Gap, and Bullying. In discussions about how to focus their giving, it became clear that these topics were related to one core issue: the experience of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES). Youth who have experienced more ACES have higher rates of anxiety and depression. UW-Green Bay students felt if they could work “upstream,” by funding a program that helps children have healthy development, they might address the root cause of these other problems. Shanna O’Berry, Director of Academic Programs for the Learning by Giving Foundation (who was able to join the class several times virtually), observed that “early on, the students embraced their goal to help youth mental health. After the pandemic unfolded, they became extremely committed to having an impact through effective philanthropy.”

The community-based, high impact class was altered by the Stay-at-Home orders which required all classes to finish the semester online. March 12, 2020 was the last day the class worked together on campus; after that, all work was conducted virtually.

“Even though they were facing hardships, my students were extremely committed to giving out this funding responsibly. I don’t think any of us, nonprofits included, will ever forget this experience,” said Warner.

The UWGBphilanthropy Facebook page references both a blog about the students’ experiences this semester and hosts an award presentation video. (Photo of the class is available to media upon request).

Press Release by UW-Green Bay student Don Schunke

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to more than 8,000 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, D-I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.



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