The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

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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 Generous U proposal due-date will be March 17, 2017. Stay tuned for the 2017 application information and an updated Request for Proposals!

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2016 Generous U competition:

2016 Generous U Winner ($10,000 prize):  

·         Allow Good, University of Chicago and Northwestern University

2016 Generous U Runners-Up ($2,500 prize each):

·         Student Philanthropy Council, University of Rhode Island

·         Effective Altruists, University of California, Berkeley

2016 Generous U Honorable Mentions:

·         Presidential Ambassadors, Towson University

·         Dance Marathon, Loras College  

·         Student Foundation, Oklahoma State University

To view the winning groups' videos and letters of intent, please visit our 2016 Competition page. Also check out the 2016 Press Release!

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information.

Please consider the following as you write your proposal for the $10,000 Sillerman Prize competition:

At the Sillerman Center, we view philanthropy as granting money that makes a sustainable impact in an area of social concern or clear community need that extends beyond the needs of one individual. More specifically, the Sillerman Center is committed to supporting a particular type of philanthropy called “social justice philanthropy.” We define social justice philanthropy as contributions to non-profit organizations committed to creating social change by both empowering and creating more economic, social, educational and political opportunities for people who have been historically marginalized, discriminated against or who are economically disadvantaged. 

You are the next generation of leaders and influencers. Your generation will shape the values of your community, state, nation and world in the coming years.  Generous U exists to support and celebrate generosity and social concern by promoting campus-based philanthropy by showcasing the ways young people make positive differences through giving. Your philanthropy can be local, national or even international in nature. 

Recent past winners have included the Students Supporting Students Campaign Committee within the School of Social Work at Rutgers University, the Student Philanthropy Council at the University of Rhode Island, and Mr. Wash U at Washington University in St. Louis.

We appreciate your time and care in completing this application.  

(Please note: While the Sillerman Center deeply respects volunteerism and community service, only activities that promote philanthropy through monetary giving are eligible for the Sillerman Prize).

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

1.   Background Information on your group:

  • University or college name
  • Group, club, or organization name
  • State your group’s mission or purpose
  • Group, club, or organization web site (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 Sillerman 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.)

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?
  • Who has your giving benefited? How?
  • Describe your group’s fundraising and/or giving strategies, and/or process.
  • How do you encourage student involvement? Please describe any plans to increase involvement.
  • If you receive a cash prize, what will you use it for? How is this sustainable? Please be specific.

3. Video

Please provide a 2-3 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; however, you are welcome to submit a supplemental professionally made video along with your application. Please tell us:

  • Who you are and what you do.
  • 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.
  • Why your work could be considered a national model for other campuses.

4. Confirmation of Status

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, link to your YouTube video, and letter of confirmation of status to Please put “Generous U Application” in the subject line of the email. All application materials are due Friday, March 11th, 2016. 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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