This week, the students in my Nonprofit Giving course at Framingham State University gave away $10,000!

The recipient of this money, generously provided by the Learning by Giving Foundation, is United Teen Equality Center. This organization enables disadvantaged youth in Lowell and Lawrence, Mass. to pursue education and employment as alternatives to the lure of gang involvement.

For students in the class, coming to this decision was exciting but by no means easy. The prior two weeks they had visited four organizations in the greater Boston area, all of which do significant work to expand low-income people’s access to economic opportunity. (See prior post.)

At the beginning of the course, the class read my book Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream, which offers hands-on strategies for how giving can fuel opportunity. Then, they crafted a grant application, researched local nonprofits, and invited the most fitting to apply for funds. Students subsequently evaluated the 20 grant proposals we received. Lengthy discussion produced the list of four that received site visits, and even more intense deliberation preceded the final vote.

The students could have split the Learning by Giving grant two, three, or even four ways. But, most of them wanted the entire sum to go to one organization since that would make the greatest impact. After a very close vote, United Teen Equality Center proved to be the favorite.

Congratulations to the students for a job really well done and to UTEC for proving so deserving of the class’ investments. And thanks to the Learning by Giving Foundation for making this tremendous experience possible!