Capstone projects may earn an American Savings Foundation grant for a local nonprofit organization
NEW BRITAIN, CT -- Throughout Connecticut, philanthropic organizations distribute more than a billion dollars every year. Individuals donate nearly $4 billion more. Responding to both the State’s philanthropic needs and need for skilled philanthropy professionals, Central Connecticut State University is offering an innovative course in the practice of philanthropy.
This ambitious 16-week course will begin in January and include 25 presenters from local nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. As part of the course, students will study local needs, create a case study, and write a proposal following the American Savings Foundation grant-making guidelines. At the end of the course, up to two of these projects may each be funded with a $5,000 grant from the American Savings Foundation.
“We’re jumping in with both feet,” said Dr. Richard L. Judd, lead professor and President Emeritus of CCSU. “Philanthropy is a tool of social change at every level of society: local, national, and international,” Judd says. “Students in the class will learn the history, theory, research, and the motivations involved in philanthropy.”
“They will learn more than just philosophy,” points out Professor Carol Shaw Austad, who will co-teach with Dr. Judd. “This class is hands-on. Students will work in teams to design a philanthropic strategy. They will meet with New Britain nonprofits and evaluate impact, just like any foundation. We expect them to make a strong case statement for an organization or project.”
American Savings Foundation applauds and supports this effort
“There is so much to like about this course,” notes Maria Falvo, president of the American Savings Foundation. “For one, many of these young people may go on to work at or volunteer with nonprofits. They may be fortunate enough to become donors themselves. This essential training lays the groundwork for a future in philanthropy,” Falvo says.
CCSU President Dr. Zulma R. Toro said “I am especially pleased that this course engages our hometown of New Britain. This is a perfect example of what we mean by “CCSUConnected.” We are connecting to our communities in a mutually beneficial way by engaging our students academically in the life of our community. Our students learn skills and experiences that can prepare them for rewarding careers, and our communities can benefit from our students’ work focused on New Britain’s needs.”
President Toro added that she is particularly impressed with the range of presenters.
“These community leaders are such a diverse and thoughtful group,” said Dr. Toro. “Pastor Thomas Mills of Grace Church shares a session with New Britain Mayor (and CCSU alumna) Erin Stewart. Dr. Ali Antar of the Berlin Mosque is on the agenda as is Dr. Claudia Thesing, formerly director of development at the New Britain Museum of American Art. The speakers represent a real cross-section of the community.”
Peace Studies 210: Introduction to Philanthropy
The course will run from January 17 to May 9. The class is open to undergraduate students at CCSU.
“This will be a very demanding course requiring significant teamwork,” he says. “Though I’m sure the presenters, Dr. Austad, and I will learn a lot from this first-time effort, I think the students will leave inspired by the power and potential of investing in our community, and we hope to learn from the students as well,” Judd concludes.
Mark Warren McLaughlin, PhD
Associate Vice President Marketing & Communications
Central Connecticut State University