At the beginning of the Fall semester, students from the Global Perspectives on Leading and Investing in Social Change class were presented with the opportunity to develop and run a grantmaking process during the semester. And, by their final exam in December, the class awarded a $7,500 grant to Living Goods. Public Policy Major, Monet Creech notes, “Coming into the class, I expected to learn about philanthropy and to pick a foundation to award our grant to. Little did I know that this class was about so much more. Dr. Bies opened my eyes to how vast and diverse the world of philanthropy is and how it can have a positive and lasting impact on communities.”
Throughout the semester, students learned about problems that cut across borders, studied approaches to global giving and philanthropic strategies, researched issue areas, developed a mission statement and a request for proposals, reviewed applications and virtually and in-person visited nonprofits and NGOs to determine which organization would receive the grant.
The class was challenged to come up with a cause to support and specific organizations to benefit from the grant. “With some forty students across a great diversity of majors and varied concerns, the students were initially interested in many pressing global issues, including climate change, human trafficking, educational equity, clean water, and housing, to name a few. The students are informed citizens to begin with and dedicated themselves to immersing in research on the issues and dialogue with each other to narrow their scope of interest,“ indicated course instructor, Dr. Bies, Endowed Associate Professor of Global Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership and Faculty Affiliate, Do Good Institute.
After weeks of research, papers and debates, the class agreed to support initiatives that focus on preventing diseases affecting individuals in impoverished areas of developing countries. They then wrote a request for proposals (RFP), received applications from 12 NGOs, and ultimately chose to support Living Good’s path-breaking work. Student Megan Levy, Animal Sciences Major, Public Leadership Minor, describes that process: “From the beginning, a recognition of the size of our grant and a desire to maximize its tangible impact were key considerations. We also decided that creating sustainable and community-based solutions was something we all valued. We chose Living Goods, our Grantee, for their focus on creating a network of community health workers with the capacity to help hundreds within their communities annually while communicating, training, and building information infrastructure for medical supply chains with the help of the organization’s innovative app.”
You can learn how the organization plans to use the funds here. Melissa Weakly, Major Gifts Officer, Living Goods, notes: “You are directly impacting the lives of thousands by enabling community health workers to provide care and treatment for some of the leading causes of under five child mortality including Malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.” Living Goods aims to save lives at scale by supporting digitally empowered community health workers. They work with governments and partners to leverage smart mobile technology, rigorously strengthen performance, and relentlessly innovate to cost-effectively deliver high-quality, impactful health services. By 2021,
Living Goods aims to provide quality primary health care to more than 25 million people by supporting 34,000 digitally empowered community health workers. “Living Goods is so inspired by your dedication to learning, to service, and to philanthropy and are delighted to be your partner….Thank you again for your support. We know this is just the beginning of a partnership between Living Goods and the University of Maryland Do Good Institute,” said Ashely Brekke, Business Development Coordinator, Living Goods.
Connor Mangan, Economics major notes that in addition to the lasting effects of Living Goods work, the course offers lasting effects for students, “I learned so much about an aspect of policy and advocacy that I really knew nothing about. I can honestly say that this class impacted how I thought about my post-graduate plans and altered where I was applying for internships and jobs. As you may have read in my reflection paper, I actually just took up an internship for the spring with Habitat for Humanity's advocacy team, and I plan on using the knowledge gained from your course to support the team on the Hill.”