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Student project awards $15,000 to five local charities

April 8, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University students studying nonprofit leadership had the opportunity to fund projects for five local charities totaling $15,000 through a program started in the fall for a select group of universities nationwide.

Funds from Campus Compact and Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund provided students from just 10 universities across the country the opportunity to research community needs and award grants to local charitable organizations. The WMU grants, awarded at a reception April 2, were part of the Students4Giving program to advance philanthropic education efforts at colleges around the nation.

The program engages students in strategic grant-making activities and partnerships with local nonprofit organizations and allows them to have hands-on experience identifying needs in the community, setting criteria for grants and administering funds.

Kalamazoo grant recipients

  • Specialized Language Development Center, $5,000 for its Language Links Program that provides two hours per week of individual, specialized instruction to economically disadvantaged children who are significantly below grade level in reading but who do not qualify or receive special education services
  • Eastside Neighborhood Association, $2,725 for a community garden that will provide gardening expertise, garden tools on loan, and fresh produce to families in that neighborhood
  • YMCA, $2,500 for a speaker event at the Kalamazoo Summit on Racism that promotes the elimination of institutional racism
  • Family and Children's Service, $2,350 for its Parenting Education Classes for birth parents and relatives whose children have been or are at risk of being removed from the family home due to abuse or neglect
  • New Genesis, $2,350 for its 5-Star After School Program for children who work to improve their skills in reading and math while their parents learn how to support their children's academic achievement.

Prior to awarding the grants, WMU students researched local issues and set priorities for projects that combated institutional racism or secured basic human rights to food, housing and transportation. The projects accomplished those goals through advocacy; through after-school and mentoring that improved academic skills--specifically reading, writing, math and science; and through programs that strengthened families by providing educational programs for parents and guardians.

Twenty-two students enrolled in the Seminar in Nonprofit Leadership at WMU were part of the University's Students4Giving effort. Students sent out requests for proposals, and 23 agencies responded asking for more than $110,000. The WMU students reviewed responses, interviewed finalists and spent more than seven hours coming to a consensus on which programs to fund.

During the past seven years, the WMU Nonprofit Leadership Program, a part of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, has graduated and certified 76 nonprofit leaders, given $33,000 to local nonprofits, provided 22,500 hours of intern service to local and regional nonprofits, coordinated 9,600 hours of service learning associated with classes, and educated 16 local nonprofit professionals.


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

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

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400