UMW Philanthropy Class Announces Grant Recipients

Students enrolled in a philanthropy course at the University of Mary Washington have awarded $10,000 in grant money to the National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation and the Fredericksburg Counseling Services, Inc.

Emily Nicotera and Kate Wheeler, class-elected representatives of the course-created Mary Washington Charitable Foundation, made the announcement today at the university’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center.

The National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation received a $7,500 award. The nonprofit organization, which operates Hazel Hill Apartments in Fredericksburg, will establish the Hazel Hill Community Enrichment After-School Program to provide tutoring services to elementary students who live in the low-income apartment complex.

Trina Robinson, resident and service coordinator for Hazel Hill Apartments, said the gift will help hire teachers to tutor students after school. The grant marks the second time Robinson’s programs have benefited from the goodwill of the UMW philanthropy class. Robinson also oversees a similar tutoring program at Heritage Park Apartments, which received a $7,000 grant from last year’s class.

“I already know how the money helps the kids,” Robinson said. “I see the positive results with the program at Heritage Park.”

The Fredericksburg Counseling Services, Inc. received a $2,500 grant to fund the Bounce Back Group, a resiliency program for children who live in homeless shelters.

 “The program offers children a chance to work with counselors and to realize that they can succeed in life,” said Marci Bartley, executive director of the counseling center. “We are able to go into shelters and work with children to teach coping skills, insight and creativity.”

The grants were funded by Doris Buffett’s Sunshine Lady Foundation, which provided the class with $10,000 to award how it saw fit. The students received a total of ­­26 applications.

 The course, Economics of Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector, is taught by Robert Rycroft, professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington. It allows students to learn about philanthropy through the hands-on experience of forming a foundation, creating the criteria for the award, soliciting applications for the grants, reviewing the applications and selecting the award winners.

 UMW senior Kristine Howe said she appreciates being part of a group that makes a difference in people’s lives.

 “The impact of this grant will be immediate,” she said. “I know that it will have a positive effect on children.”

 Sulava Gaupan, also a senior, said the course has helped direct her career path. She plans to work with nonprofit organizations after she graduates.

This is the third year the class has been offered, and it is slated to be taught each fall at the University of Mary Washington for at least one more year, with continued funding from the Sunshine Lady Foundation. Buffett also funds similar courses at Cornell University, the University of Virginia, Tufts University and Davidson College. Discussions are currently underway with a number of other potential new partner schools through the foundation’s Learning by Giving program.

The Sunshine Lady Foundation is a private family foundation funded by Doris Buffett, sister of billionaire Warren Buffet. The foundation invests in organizations and programs dedicated to providing opportunities for the advancement of education, well being and new life choices for disadvantaged people with special empathy for the working poor and families in crisis. More information about the foundation is available at www.sunshineladyfdn.org.

For more information about the philanthropy course at the University of Mary Washington, contact Dr. Rycroft at (540) 654-1500 or rrycroft@umw.edu.

About Marty Morrison