Cal Strategic Philanthropy Students Grant $12K to Alleviate Poverty, Promote Education

Full Circle Fund's partnership with UC Berkeley Haas School of Business's Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership continued to grow in 2011 as a new cohort of UC Berkeley undergrads rolled up their sleeves for the spring 2011 semester of "Strategic Philanthropy." The course, which debuted in 2010, engages students in interactive exercises and discussions to determine how to best distribute a $12,000 gift from the Sunshine Lady Foundation for maximum social impact. The students awarded this year's grants to First Graduate and Operation Access.

Taught by Dr. Nora Silver, Director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, Colin Lacon, President & CEO of Northern California Grantmakers, and Full Circle Fund CEO Amy Lesnick, the course is based on an award‐winning curriculum developed by UC Berkeley undergraduates. Many of the course's best practices are gleaned from Full Circle Fund's engaged philanthropy model. Like Full Circle Fund, the class is dedicated to innovative problem-solving approaches to bay area problems. This year, students narrowed their focus to two issue areas: education and poverty alleviation.

Prior to awarding the grants, students formed teams to research and identify potential nonprofit recipients, perform due diligence, and finally, make final presentations recommending finalist organizations. Guided by the instructors and renowned guests offering a variety of perspectives and frameworks, the course's goal is to teach Cal Students to be effective philanthropists.

The above video, with footage from the 2010 semester, provides more insight into the class's impact on the students and community. Michelle Poon, a student from last year's class, went on to gain hands-on experience at Full Circle Fund as a summer intern, and is continuing to make an impact in the area of education at KIPP as a Development Associate.

What's New