Letter from the Director
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
As a new academic year is launched, the Sillerman Center's thoughts turn toward teaching philanthropy, developing the Sillerman Prize 2012, and reflecting on the summer philanthropy internships for Heller's master's in public policy students and looking forward to our fall MBA internships.
On the research side, we are eager to complete the first stage of research on college student attitudes (Pay it Forward) towards learning about philanthropy and what impact that might have on their lives as citizens. Our database of surveys from college students –in partnership withCampus Compact --is among the largest ever collected on this topic for analysis.
The Center will continue as it has since 2008, to offer courses in Practicing Philanthropy. The fall course is for undergraduates and the spring course is for Heller graduate students. The experiential aspects of these courses; where students learn grant making and program assessment are supported by theLearning by Giving Foundation and the Tomorrow Foundation. These are popular courses where students learn about the history and sociological aspects of U.S. philanthropy as well as acquire the skills of program and budget analysis, sites visits, and decision-making.
Four Heller policy students participated in philanthropic settings this summer, all in Massachusetts.Partnering with the Sillerman Center, were the GreaterWorcester Community Foundation, Edvestors, the Nellie May Foundation, and theBlue Cross Blue Shield Foundation. These organizations showed commitment to the field of philanthropy by opening their organizations to students. Reflections on these experiences are posted on the Sillerman web site. We encourage you to read the views and reflections of young professionals who experienced a summer in the foundation sector.
The Pay It Forward initiative, under the auspices of Campus Compact with help from the Sillerman Center evaluates student experiences in philanthropy education courses in Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky. Initial results show that just over half of participating students have never discussed volunteer work or philanthropy with their parents. This finding suggests that experiential learning courses may play an important role in introducing college students to giving. Given the importance to society of these values, we think the not-for-profit field can be vastly improved by providing forums for college and graduate school aged students to learn much more about this sector and what role philanthropy can play in their personal lives as well as in society.
Recently the subject of teaching philanthropy was given appropriate recognition in the August Bloomberg Business Week article, Philanthropy Gains Eager Followers in B-Schools. Sillerman courses at Brandeis, are aimed not only at Heller's MBA students, but also are open to students in Heller's PhD, MPP, MA/SID; Coexistence and Conflict master's and MS programs in international health management and policy. Early on in the Business Week article, the Pay it Forward Initiative is noted as the largest U.S.philanthropy program. Our research will note that there is an important place during college and graduate school for philanthropy education, a growing number of opportunities for learning about this sector, venues for actually practicing philanthropy, and opportunities for gaining an understanding of the enormous role non profits and philanthropies play together to help American society.
Sometime in the 80s, working in the voluntary sector became less popular. Young people went in droves to "the other side", pursuing careers in business and finance. Next a reaction set in and a strong service learning and community service movement developed. Interest in developing the non-profit sector has grown too. As an example, non -profit graduate school concentrations, even in business schools, have expanded dramatically. The college philanthropy movement, thanks to players such as Campus Compact, the Sunshine Lady Foundation, (now the Learning by Giving Foundation), and University philanthropy centers like the Sillerman Center are strengthening these developments.
The Sillerman Prize
Twenty-one business plans, some from teams and some from individuals were submitted for the 2011 Sillerman Prize in Philanthropy on College Campuses. Applications were received from schools around New England and across the U.S.
This coming year the Sillerman Prize will again widely publicize the $5K prize awarded for the best plan regarding how to increase philanthropic values and philanthropy on college campuses. We will hopefully reach into places where philanthropy courses are prevalent and places where there are just bright energetic students willing to devise plans about how their peers, college and graduate students, can be mobilized to be generous and consider the plight of others on micro and macro levels.
Our nationwide group of judges volunteered from higher education and the philanthropy sector to bring their expertise to bear on the student's collective creativity. The process of engaging students to develop ideas, create a plan that includes sustainability, submitting this plan and getting coaching in some instances and then being judged with feedback was as important as who was awarded the prize.
This is part of a strong social justice agenda at the Sillerman Center. Whatever the students of today become tomorrow, there is a place for philanthropy in their lives. Whether through individual giving, joining giving circles, having donor advised funds or as trustees of their family foundations, this next generation can contribute to deepening social justice.
Drop us a note if you have interests and stories of creative work in philanthropy education. We wil find ways to let others know!
Andrew Hahn PhD '78
Professor and Director
The Sillerman Center