The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Generous U

Generous U

Generous U is a national contest to increase awareness and involvement of students on college campuses about the importance and impact of philanthropy and philanthropic values. Student groups are invited to compete for the $10,000 Sillerman Prize and the Generous U title. The competition is judged based on the proposals and videos submitted by undergraduate and graduate students eligible to receive the prize through their college or university.

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The 2017 winner is Eagle Endowment for Public and Community Service from American University. They will receive the $10,000 Sillerman Prize. This year, additionally, we chose one second place winner, Student Philanthropy Council from University of Rhode Island who will receive $2,500. We also chose 2 third place winners, GlobeMed from UCLA and Tisch Council for Philanthropic Leadership from Tufts University who will each receive $1,250. To view the winning team's applications and videos please visit our 2017 Generous U page!

You are the next generation of leaders and influencers. Your generation will shape the values of your community, state, nation and the world in the coming years. Generous U exists to support and celebrate your generosity and social concern by promoting campus-based philanthropy and showcasing the ways young people make positive differences through giving. Your philanthropy can be local, national or even international in nature, and may support any cause as long as it addresses an identified community need. We look forward to reviewing your proposal!


Please review our Frequently Asked Questions page to help you as you write your proposal for the $10,000 Generous U competition prize. A runner-up prize of $2,500 will also be awarded. Applications are due on March 17, 2017.

In our experience, we’ve found that strong applicants:

  • Demonstrate their passion for inspiring fellow college students to support a cause through philanthropic giving
  • Clearly communicate an innovative, compelling, and achievable vision for increasing philanthropic activities on campus
  • Submit a high-quality proposal that includes a concrete plan for achieving this vision
  • Are an eligible student group engaging in qualifying activities that promote philanthropy on campus (see our FAQ page to make sure your group is eligible before applying)
  • Are enthusiastic about using philanthropy to address a pressing need in the world in a sustainable manner

Application Checklist:

  1. Intent to Apply (please complete before submitting application)
  2. Cover letter (Including background information on your group and budget)
  3. Executive Summary
  4. Link to video (may be included in cover letter or executive summary)
  5. Confirmation of Status Letter (with official signature)

We request a proposal from your college or university group comprised of the following:

1.   Cover Letter, including the following background information about your group (This section can be presented in bullet point format):

  • University or college name
  • Group, club, or organization name
  • State your group’s mission or purpose
  • Group, club, or organization website (if applicable)
  • Contact person’s name, email address, and phone number
  • Group advisor’s name, email address, and phone number
  • Name and contact information for a college or university official who can confirm your status as a formal group, club, or organization eligible to receive the $10,000 Generous U Prize. To be eligible, the person must sign their own name in their statement of confirmation.
  • Budget for your philanthropy-related activities (You may just include general operating expenses if your philanthropy-related activities constitute a significant portion of your work overall.) Please see the FAQ page for a sample budget template.

2. Executive Summary

Maximum 3 pages, single spaced: Format: 12 point Times New Roman or Calibri Font with 1 inch margins on all sides.

  • How have you increased the practice and awareness of philanthropy or charitable giving on your campus?
  • How precisely does your group practice philanthropy? What principles and goals guide your philanthropy?
  • Who are the beneficiaries of your work and monetary giving? How do they benefit?
  • Describe your group’s fundraising and/or giving strategies, and/or process.
  • How many club members does your group currently have and how do you encourage student involvement? Please describe any plans to increase involvement.
  • If you receive a cash prize, how will it be used? How is this sustainable? Please be specific.

3. Video

Please provide a 2-4 minute video (YouTube or Vimeo format) that tells us your story. Your video should reflect the personality and passion of your group, club, or organization. This video MUST be created specifically for Generous U and does not have to be professionally made. If you have applied for Generous U in the past, you must create a new video for this year’s application to reflect your current work. Please tell us:

  • Describe your group’s mission and values and how you adhere to these self-made guidelines
  • How your work raises awareness and/or philanthropic giving on your campus
  • How your group practices philanthropy
  • How your work benefits people and the community
  • Describe your favorite or most unique aspect of your group or club
  • Why your work could be considered a national model for other campuses in terms of your successes and your model of giving

4. Confirmation of Status Letter

Please submit a letter confirming your status as a recognized student club, group, or organization on campus from a college or university official. The official must sign this letter. 

Application Submission:

Please submit your cover letter, executive summary, link to your video, and letter of confirmation of status to Written materials should be submitted as word documents or PDFs. Please put “Generous U Application” in the subject line of the email. All application materials are due Friday, March 17th, 2017. All applications received by the deadline will be considered. Notifications will be sent upon receipt of completed applications.

Questions? Please contact

Thank you for applying to Generous U!


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