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Philanthropy course awards $50,000 to 9 nonprofits

December 15, 2015 11:00 AM
Mary Sparacello msparace@tulane.edu
Philanthropy students Jessica Rubini, left, and Abigail Cramer, right, present a grant check to Rachel Lee, center, operations manager of Kids Rethink New Orleans on Friday, Dec. 11. (Photo by Sally Asher)


Tulane University students in the Philanthropy and Social Change course awarded a total of $50,000 to nine New Orleans nonprofits in a ceremony at the Lavin-Bernick Center on Friday (Dec. 11).
“Giving away money isn’t easy,” said Michele Adams, an associate professor of sociology, at the ceremony. “Contributing to worthy causes is difficult, thought-provoking and so rewarding.”

Contributing to worthy causes is difficult, thought-provoking and so rewarding.

Michele Adams, associate professor of sociology

The students in the semester-long course started in the fall with a list of 60 nonprofits. To decide how to distribute the $50,000, students split into five groups and conducted research, interviews and site visits. The course was supported by a grant from the Once Upon a Time Foundation’s The Philanthropy Lab, which supports philanthropic education at universities.
Students raved about the unique course that brought them deep into the New Orleans community.

“The things that I learned in this class will stick with me for a long time,” said Addison Altholz, a senior majoring in sociology.
In determining how to allocate the money, students developed a set of team values, mission and problem statements, and established metrics to compare nonprofits, engaging in passionate debates as students argued for their chosen causes.
“I learned so much about myself and my values,” said Skylar Byron-Nelson, a sophomore.  
The course was available for the first time this fall semester through the School of Liberal Arts Management Minor (SLAMM), which introduces non-business majors to management practices and principles through a liberal arts perspective. Students awarded money to the following nonprofits in five categories:
• Arts & Culture: Hope Stone New Orleans and Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.
• Education: A’s & Aces and Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools.
• Health, Well-Being and Quality of Life: Bayou District Foundation and Sankofa Community Development.
• Social Services: Hagar’s House.
• Youth: Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans and Youth Empowerment Project.
Mary Sparacello is a communications specialist in the Office of Development Communications.