Student Philanthropy Council provides community project funding
Posted: Mar 21, 2014
Founded in the fall of 2012, the student-ran SPC exists to provide meaningful ways to educate and engage students in philanthropy.
Imagine a situation in which students could apply for and receive grants from their peers that will make a significant impact in their local community. Through the work of Olivet’s Student Philanthropy Council (SPC), this has become a reality.
“Students have an increasing interest in employment and volunteer opportunities in the nonprofit sector,” says Jenny Schoenwetter, coordinator for development and staff liaison for SPC. “We want to prepare them for what to expect, and also teach them about the importance of living philanthropically by investing in others.”
Founded in the fall of 2012, the student-ran SPC exists to provide meaningful ways to educate and engage students in philanthropy. The goal is to develop a culture of giving so that students will leave Olivet as generous leaders in their respective communities. As part of this pursuit, the SPC’s Grant Committee awards mini-grants to groups, clubs, ministries and programs to enrich the campus or surrounding community by investing in educational, spiritual and significant needs.
Applicants must be current Olivet students applying on behalf of a group, club, ministry or program in which they are currently active. Reward money may not be used for personal benefit.
This year, SPC selected four applicants to receive funding:
ONU Tiger tennis team — Awarded money will be used to buy supplies for an event the team will host for students from Kennedy Elementary School in Kankakee, Ill.
MuKappa, a campus organization that serves Olivet students from international missionary and military homes — Awarded money was used to provide a refugee family in the Chicago area with a “Welcome to America!” pack, which included items such as kitchenware, towels, bedding and food items.
Reach Community — Awarded money was used for paint supplies as part of an ongoing effort to remodel Grace Christian Academy in Kankakee.
Youth for Christ — Awarded money will be used to help purchase new chairs, tables, furniture and a water fountain for the City Life Center in Kankakee.
Grant recipients must use the funds by a given deadline. They are also required to submit a follow-up report detailing how they used the funds. If they fail to meet the terms of the grant agreement, they will be required to pay back the money.
“This is a great opportunity for students on the Council to see what goes into the grant process,” says Kelsey Steines, SPC president.
The SPC also ensures that each applicant receives feedback for writing future grant proposals. After announcing the grant recipients, committee members provide helpful input to all the applicants focusing on parts of their application that could be strengthened or improved. With this knowledge, students will be prepared to apply again next year.
As they educate their peers, committee members are also learning about this process. Many are new to grant procedures and eagerly learned how to evaluate applications properly.
To continue the trend of peer education, committee members attend a seminar hosted by students who have experience with grants through the “Fundamentals of Fundraising” course that Olivet offers.