The Sillerman Center announced the winner of the 2011 Sillerman Prize for Innovations in Philanthropy on College Campuses:
The Piglet Project: A new take on student philanthropy
Four finalists battled for the $5K Prize in the Second Annual Sillerman Center prize competition held on April 27, 2011 at the Heller School, each with compelling and well-thought-out presentations.
Twenty-one submissions from around the country were received, containing business plans that addressed increasing philanthropic values and practices on college and university campuses. A national panel of judges selected the four finalists for the viability of their business plans, innovative and creative approaches applied to this challenge, and the sustainability of the projects.
The finalists' oral presentations were judged and combined with written submissions, with all judges conceding the difficulty in selecting just one winner.
Finalists included undergraduate and/or graduate students from Harvard University, Babson College, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.
The winner, The Piglet Project, submitted by a team of six undergraduate students from Babson College, starts with the distribution of piggy banks to every freshman undergraduate during a required first-year seminar class. This motivational approach to philanthropy early on in a young adult's college career promotes the habit of regular giving throughout four years of college. But the "DNA" of the piggy marketing plan, presented with props and costumes, stole the oral competition and demonstrated how the addition of the "fun factor" increases the uptake in participation. Events continue throughout the four years with special events and "holidays" (National Pig Day) where piggy banks are decorated, "piggy round ups" to round up change, and small premiums to increase awareness about one's own personal philanthropy. The mascot, a Phil Anthropig, parade floats and a general esprit de corps captivated the audience.
The other finalist projects included The Recyclanthropist Initiative, presented by Cornell students, which aims to advance recycling practices to protect the environment while also infusing philanthropy through the allocation of beverage can redemption fees to specific charities; Competitive Philanthropy, another finalist presented by two Harvard students, which created a competition between student teams to identify high-impact nonprofits, and thus increase student awareness about local community programs while harnessing competitive spirit to bring in "votes" (converted to the price of admission to the competition producing funds to allocate for the winning nonprofit); and The Moving Millennials Initiative, a plan by a UPenn student to establish cohorts in the freshman year of 25 students who will work towards an annual local philanthropic project, with funds coming through the fundraising efforts of students via innovative means.