Proposal: UAA Center for Community Engagement & Learning

Name of Nonprofit Organization:  University of Alaska Anchorage, Center for Community Engagement & Learning (UAA CCEL)

Project Name: Learn to Give

Your Name: Kitty Farnham

Short Project Description (less than 25 words):

ENGAGE Students are becoming community-engaged leaders.  They will develop proposals for mini-grants to agencies they work with, multiplying their contributions and supporting local needs.

The Big Why (less than 500 words):

During college is a wonderful time for students to learn about community engagement, the impact of one individual, and philanthropy. Through this project, the students will learn the pluses of giving to causes they work on, the work of program development, grant proposals, and evaluating the impact of grants that are given.  They will see how philanthropy can multiple the impact of the work they do as volunteers and citizen leaders.

The ENGAGE Student Liaisons spend at least two semesters acting as a liaison to local organizations, often being site supervisors and mentors for other UAA students who are volunteering.  They get to know the needs of the agencies and often take actions to connect UAA resources, including other students, to meet those needs.  We propose to begin a fledgling philanthropy program in CCEL, with the objective to teach student groups about the power of giving, including writing effective proposals, the need to carefully assess and make the difficult decisions for grant awards, and how to ask for and evaluate the impact of grants given.

ENGAGE Student Liaisons are trained in leadership for community engagement, and their spring training will include identifying agency needs and writing effective grant proposals. Another student group will be versed in being a granting committee and tasked with making a decision on the proposals for what they will fund.  This is anticipated to be the beginning of a larger philanthropy training that we will build into the curriculum over the next two years.  We will be pursuing the funding for a larger, though still modest, philanthropy project to be run by students for community organizations out of this model pilot project.

The ripple effect of the initial investment the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle can be multiplied many times by modeling philanthropy and teaching new generations about the impact personal giving and engagement can have on causes they care about.  Examples of community partners in past years include:

  • Supporting the residents, members and staff needs at Karluk Manor and the Alaska Mental Health Web

  • Community Council engagement and partnerships, e.g. the “Pop Up” Community Museum in Fairview

  • Homework Help volunteers at Loussac Library’s “Teen Underground”

Extending the vision and philosophy of the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle to UAA ENGAGE Students and their peers is a unique, high-leverage opportunity to accelerate the larger vision of increasing community engagement through personalized, donor directed giving.

The funds also recognize and encourage the work ENGAGE Liaisons do and facilitate between the University and community partners.

The Bottom Line (how much, less than 100 words)

A $2,000 grant would be used entirely for mini-grants to the community agency(ies) through proposals developed and evaluated by the students. The proposals will be based on their work within the community and the needs they recognize. All other costs and training will be provided in-kind by University personnel and guest speakers from the community.  The students will decide whether to provide (1) $2,000 grant, (2) $1,000 grants or (4) $500 grants.