Students in the University of Mary Washington philanthropy class awarded a total of $10,000 in grants to three Fredericksburg-area nonprofit organizations: the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic, Rappahannock Legal Services and Stafford Junction.
Class representatives Ashley Cameron and Katherine Gibson announced the awards during a check presentation ceremony on Tuesday, December 6 at the university’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center. The ceremony was the culmination of the semester-long Economics of Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector course taught by Professor of Economics Robert Rycroft.
The grants are funded by philanthropist Doris Buffet’s Learning by Giving Foundation. Buffett, who attended the ceremony, commended the students for their hard work.
“I’m really proud of you,” said Buffett. “You learned a lot and I bet you had a good time doing it.”
This year, the class of 22 students reviewed 51 applications.
“In choosing the grant recipients, our class followed the lead of the Application Review Committee, focusing on improving the health and education of the disadvantaged in the area, goals set in our mission statement,” said Gibson. “It took us two class periods to choose the recipients, and though it was hard to come to a consensus, the class is excited to be able to support three great programs for three organizations.”
Doug Searcy, vice president of student affairs, applauded the students’ efforts. “The whole process has confirmed for me the importance of philanthropy,” said Searcy. “I am grateful this is the type of learning we have at the University of Mary Washington.”
The Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic, operated by the Fredericksburg Area Regional Health Council, received $2,400 for its diabetes management and diabetes home testing programs, which provide second test strips for patients with diabetes.
“If our patients are unable to effectively monitor their diabetes, they run the risk of severe complications later,” said Peter Wingrove, UMW student and volunteer at the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic. “By allowing for more frequent testing of blood glucose, this grant will give our doctors the information they need to better manage this disease, not only helping to prevent future medical costs for these patients but also substantially improving their quality of life. Acts of generosity such as this grant are absolutely essential in allowing the Lloyd Moss Free Clinic to continue offering excellent medical care without regard to the patient’s ability to pay, and a healthy population is in turn essential for the continued economic growth and prosperity of this region.”
Rappahannock Legal Services, with offices in downtown Fredericksburg, Tappahannock and Culpeper, received an award of $4,000 for its technology improvement program. The program will allow the nonprofit to purchase new computers to help staff handle new cases.
“We offer free, high quality legal assistance in civil legal matters to low-income individuals and families who are struggling with domestic violence, homelessness or unlawful denial of benefits,” said Ann Kloeckner, executive director of Rappahannock Legal Services. “We pride ourselves in providing equal justice for all, but with slow computers, we were spending critical time and resources that we could ill afford in troubleshooting technical problems. Now that we are able, through this generous grant, to upgrade our most out-of-date computers, we will be able to assist those in need more efficiently and professionally.”
Stafford Junction, which serves high-need children and families in Stafford County, was awarded $3,600 for its HUGS (Helping Us Grow Strong) program. The program will enable 20 children to attend preschool at the Rappahannock Area YMCA for nine months.
“The Rappahannock Area YMCA has provided us a unique opportunity to allow the at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds we serve to attend its star quality-rated preschool four days per week,” said Linda Hill, executive director of Stafford Junction. “With these additional funds for our HUGS (Helping Us Grow Strong) Program, we will be able to take advantage of this opportunity. We know these children will be much better prepared to succeed in school and in life as a result of this experience.”
The philanthropy course, in its seventh year at UMW, is one of eight courses sponsored by the Learning by Giving Foundation at universities across the country this fall. Students in the class create an organization, solicit for grant nominations, review funding applicants and determine grant recipients.
Last year, UMW students in the course awarded a total of $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity-Middlesex for its Habitat for Youth Program; to Rappahannock Goodwill Industries for an All-Access Workstation in its Fredericksburg Job Center; and to the Bragg Hill Family Life Center to help fund an after-school tutoring program.
Past recipients also include the Thurman Brisben Center, Rappahannock United Way, the National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation, the Fredericksburg Counseling Services, Inc., Homes for America: Heritage Park Academic Achievement Program, Rebuilding Together, Rappahannock Refuge Inc./Hope House and the Fredericksburg Regional Boys and Girls Club.
The Learning by Giving Foundation was created in the summer of 2011 through the generosity of Doris Buffett following the success of the program by the same name through her Sunshine Lady Foundation. According to its website, “the Learning by Giving Foundation seeks to advance the next generation’s understanding of philanthropy by providing the financial, technological and intellectual tools to experience community impact and to make that knowledge widely accessible through an online forum.” Additional information about the foundation is available at http://www.learningbygivingfoundation.org/.
To learn more about the philanthropy course at Mary Washington, contact Professor Rycroft at (540) 654-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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News release prepared by: Brynn Boyer