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Students to award grants to local charities

Sept. 15, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University is one of 10 institutions nationwide selected to participate in a program that promotes philanthropic education by allowing students to grant $15,000 to local charities.

Students in nonprofit and philanthropy courses will identify community needs during the fall and make grants next spring under the 2008-09 Students4Giving Program, an initiative sponsored by the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund and Campus Compact.

WMU was chosen from among universities and colleges across the country that submitted proposals for the program. It is designed to advance philanthropic education efforts at colleges and universities by engaging students in strategic grant-making activities within the context of community-based learning and partnership with local nonprofit organizations.

The program allows students to have hands-on experience identifying needs in the community, setting criteria for grants and administering funds, says Janice Maatman, WMU's director of nonprofit education programs in the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

"It's just a marvelous experience for the students. The level of care and responsibility that students take when they have real money to give away is extraordinary," she says, adding WMU students have, in the past, awarded grants through another program--a total of $9,000 in the spring semesters of 2006 and 2007.

Twenty-five students enrolled in nonprofit education courses at WMU and another 30 students from the WMU chapter of the American Humanics Student Organization will be a part of WMU's Students4Giving effort. They will learn about creating innovative approaches to fundraising, researching and identifying IRS-qualified 501 (c) (3) public charities in the community, determining appropriate grant amounts; and setting up a compliance system.

The Fidelity Gift Fund has granted almost $8 billion to more than 121,000 nonprofit organizations since its inception in 1991. For the Students4Giving initiative, it teamed with Campus Compact, a coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education through training, research, advocacy and additional resources.

For more information, visit Campus Compact online, or contact Janice Maatman at janice.maatman@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8945.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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