Eight students at West Virginia University are learning how to think like corporate philanthropists again this semester.
Through the Corporate Citizenship Project, the students have $10,000 to distribute to local organizations. Any local organization wishing to apply for a grant can do so until noon Friday, Nov. 11. Guidelines for grant applications are available at www.be.wvu.edu/ , or by calling (304) 293-7945.
On Dec. 10, the class will hand out $10,000 to local organizations.
The Corporate Citizenship Project is in its fifth year at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. Students have given away a total of $100,000 since 2001. Funding for the program comes from WVU alumni who recognize the importance of businesses contributing to the community. It was originally designed by Management Professor Gerald Blakely to teach future business leaders the value of contributing to society and the community. This year, Dr. Nancy Leonard is leading the program.
The class solicits proposals for projects that would benefit the greater Morgantown community, develops criteria for judging them (including each programs track record and the impact a grant would have), and then chooses the winners during the final days of the semester.
Each year, as part of the class, students make a trip to Cleveland, Ohio, to meet Robert Reitman, who provided funds to start the project. Reitman graduated from WVU in 1955. The students also hear from actual community philanthropists and fundraisers. Last year, they heard from the founder and director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and president of the Cleveland United Way.
During the trip students gain a better understanding and appreciation for their grant decisions,Dr. Blakely said.
Recent recipients include: Mountain Heart Foundation ($1,600)to send children to camp; Caritas ($3,750)housing/utility assistance for needy families; Mon County Family Resource Center ($100)teens as parents program; Appalachian Education Initiative ($3,750)rural assistance network; Christian Help ($3,500)emergency food pantry; Mon County Starting Points ($675)baby packs; WV Women Work ($1,950) -purchase of tools, etc.; Morgantown Fun Factory ($1,500)installation of children’s art work; Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club ($1,000)enrichment, education activities; CASA for Kids ($3,675)train and support volunteers; and Make a Wish ($3,500)support for one wish.