Students from the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University were given the chance to practice the art of philanthropy this spring while helping the local community – and on April 28, these students awarded a total of $20,000 to nine local nonprofit organizations.
Students in the Corporate Social Responsibility course requested proposals for projects that would benefit Monongalia County and developed criteria for evaluation, including each program’s track record and the impact a grant would have. The students then chose from 27 applicants during the final days of the semester, guided by their mission statement to have long-lasting impact while providing quality service to the community.
This year’s Corporate Citizenship Project grant recipients included:
- Scott’s Run Settlement House: $4,000. The award will benefit its Backpack Feeding Program, which prevents children in need from going hungry over the weekend. The organization serves 750 children every week in six elementary schools, and the award will serve 40 children for an entire school year.
- Camp Kesem: $2,000. The award will benefit the camp which houses 30 children whose parents are receiving cancer treatments, the first camp of its kind in the state.
- Alzheimer’s Association: $1,745. The award will fund half- or full-day workshops on educating caregivers for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center: $2,750. The grant will cover copay costs for victims, including children, who will benefit from psychological services to help cope with difficult life experiences.
- Boys and Girls Club: $1,000. The award will benefit the Bartlett House and Spruce Street Kitchen and garden.
- Friends of the Cheat: $2,500. The award will help restore the facility from mining problems, and benefit the future outdoor restroom facility project.
- Literary Volunteers of Monongalia and Preston Counties: $1,700. This award will fund a management system to evaluate learners’ progress.
- Mountaineer Spay Neuter Assistance Program: $1,305. The grant will be applied to neuter cats, which will prevent overpopulation.
- The Ronald McDonald House: $3,000. The award will allow the organization to build a creative magic room and fill it with toys, which will uplift the children in need of positive energy.
Participating students in this class have injected more than a quarter of a million dollars into grants for community nonprofit organizations since 2001. Known as the Corporate Citizenship Project, the program is in its 14th year. Funding for the program comes from B&E and WVU alumni who recognize the importance of businesses giving back to the community. Bob Reitman, a 1955 B&E alumnus, proposed the class idea and initially funded the project to teach future business leaders the value of contributing to society and the community.
“This class has been a wonderful experience for all involved,” said Elizabeth Vitullo, assistant dean of graduate programs. “Our students have really been engaged from start to finish and have fully participated, not only in class projects but also the activities outside of the classroom. They completed more than 300 hours of service learning, created a fundraiser for Empty Bowls Monongalia and traveled as a class to Cleveland to get a firsthand look at how nonprofits are run, with its opportunities and the challenges they face.
“Awarding the $20,000 was a challenging process, trying to align their selections with their class mission statement, but they did an incredible job with it. I am confident that they took a lot from the class, but, more importantly, they are going to carry this forward in their professional and personal lives in the business world.”
Christine Creswell, president of the CSR class, spoke at the ceremony about how much she and her classmates have learned about the nonprofit sector.
“Along with everything else we learned this semester, we’ve learned the process of evaluating grant applicants and reviewing their packets in order to donate our funds to the nonprofits that most align with our mission statement that we created this year for the class,” Creswell said. “Some skills this course has given us are confidence, communication and the ability to exclude emotion in this hard decision-making process. These are skills that we will carry on with us for the rest of our lives.”
“We have learned so much that we would never have known without taking this course. This experience has made an impact on us all in so many different ways,” Creswell said.
More information on the Corporate Social Responsibility project may be obtained by e-mailing BECSRClass@mail.wvu.edu. For further information about the WVU College of Business and Economics, follow B&E on Twitter at @wvucobe or visit be.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, College of Business and Economics
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