On Nov. 30, the economics of philanthropy in the nonprofit sector class awarded several grants to local charitable organizations, funded by Doris Buffett.
The class granted $4,100 to Habitat for Humanity Middlesex, $2,500 to Rappahannock Goodwill Inc., and $3,400 to Bragg Hill Family Life Center. All of the organizations were chosen by the students in the class.
According to junior Aaron McPherson, who is a student in the class taught by Professor of Economics Robert Rycroft, the philanthropy class asked different charitable organizations to fill out an application to receive $10,000 or an increment of this money. The money ultimately goes towards funding one of the organization’s programs.
Before accepting applications, McPherson said the class creates a foundation, mission statement, and application. A committee consisting of people in the class reads the applications and presents the top ten or eleven to the class. It is then decided which organizations will receive the funding.
McPherson is very excited about the decision this year.
“We ended up choosing these three because we felt they were going to use the money in a way that best reflected our mission statement,” McPherson said. “Another reason we chose these three organizations is because we felt they were going to use the money for sustainable, community-based programs. This means they are using the money in a way that will have a prolonged effect on the people they are trying to benefit, instead of a one time-benefit.”
Junior Maura Monahan is also enthusiastic about the decision this year.
“I was on the “Application Review Committee” and we received 51 applications this year,” Monahan said. “There is so much more than I ever imagined that goes into reviewing grant proposals.”
According to the University of Mary Washington Philanthropic Society (UMWPS) homepage, the society partners with Buffet, Warren Buffet’s sister and the Sunshine Lady Foundation to distribute the money.
The UMWPS mission “is to improve the quality of life for people living in the greater Fredericksburg Region…This mission will be accomplished by providing financial contributions to regional nonprofit organizations serving to aid low-income or homeless individuals and families.”
Vice President Greg Chambers of Habitat for Humanity of Middlesex County Youth Services-Middlesex Kiwanis is very grateful for the money.
“It allows us to further our mission and help more people,” Chambers said. “We build with the community and there are student affiliates.”
Buffet, who founded the Sunshine Lady Foundation, was excited to spread the word about helping people.
“That adage, ‘what you accept you condone’ is a powerful message,” Buffett said. “You can make this world a better place. Everyone has a part in it.”
Buffet said the organization, which was started 14 years ago, opened doors for her.
“We are results oriented and we make people’s lives better,” Buffett said. “We do a lot of things with mainly education. You don’t get anywhere without an education.”
Buffet also referenced her brother and said they have a lot in common.
“My brother talked about me on ABC this past Sunday,” Buffett said. “My brother does wholesale philanthropy. I do retail.”
Buffet explained that the term “retail philanthropy” originated one night at dinner with her brother Warren and singer Bono.
“[Warren] told Bono about my foundation,” Buffet said. “[Warren] said I do retail therapy meaning I don’t endow institutions. I am orientated on helping individual families.”
Sophomore Colin Jennings sees the class as a unique opportunity for college students.
“The Economics of Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector is a unique and very meaningful opportunity,” Jennings said. “The class harnesses the idealistic spirit of so many college students who really want to better the world and combine it with the knowledge of how the non-profit sector operates. This class is so much more than a one-time distribution of $10,000, but it is class that is training the philanthropists of tomorrow. With this experience, the students are better equipped to help manage and run non-profits in the future, which could provide millions of dollars worth of benefit to society.”
Photo: Marie Sicola/Bullet