Students grant $60,000 to Waco non-profits

Non-profit organizations around Waco received funds from the "Philanthropy and Public Good" course today in McLane Stadium. Kaitlyn DeHaven | Social Media Editor

By Kaitlyn DeHaven | Social Media Editor

Students in the Philanthropy and the Public Good course this semester granted $60,000 to non-profit organizations that proved themselves worthy of the funds.

The organizations received their funds Monday afternoon at the Check Award Ceremony in McLane Stadium.

The students were divided into groups at the beginning of the semester, education, poverty, health and miscellaneous, and these groups determined which types of non-profit organizations they would research and focus on.

Throughout the semester, the students worked with the non-profit organizations and Aramark, the donors of the money, to assess the individual needs of the non-profits and ultimately, decide how much to donate to each organization.

Van Alstyne senior Joseph De Mond said one of the most difficult parts of the process was deciding which of the organizations to allocate funds to.

“We looked for things like sustainability, innovation and public impact among other qualities. We had to decide how to do the most good with the limited funds we had,” De Mond said. “Never has so much money felt so small in our hands.”

While the semester proved beneficial to the organizations involved, students said it also affected them by showing them more about the Waco community.

Waco senior Reed Cooper said the semester provided him with valuable skills he is sure to utilize in the future.

“This class provided me with the opportunity to learn the philosophy behind giving and the tough decisions that can be behind giving,” Cooper said. “Having to go through that tough decision process really helped me think about what kind of impact I want to make in the future.”

In the same way, Arlington senior Grant Wilkie said he was able to truly realize the purpose of the project and philanthropy through this experience.

“I’ve been able to see how the Waco community loves itself,” Wilkie said. “Community is what this is all about.”

Through this project, students were able to provide funds to 9 different organizations: Skillpoint Alliance, Nurse-Family Partnership, Waco Civic Theater, Community Cancer Association, Creative Waco, Communities in Schools, Reach, American Gateways, Take Heart Ministries and Pack of Hope.

Skillpoint Alliance $7,000

This organization gives rapid workforce training to those who are unable to find work in Waco. The grant is funding an area they will call a “Training Trailer” where unemployed persons can learn the skills necessary to obtain a job quickly.

Nurse-Family Partnership $7,000

This organization pairs first-time mothers with registered nurses for the first two years of the child’s life. The grant is funding a new event called “A Graduation to Remember,” which will be a ceremony for the mother and her child after the two years. The grant will fun the event, gifts and a video that will capture the ceremony and will be given to the mothers, as well as be used for promotional purposes next year.

Waco Civic Theater $5,000

This grant will help fund a new program called the “Emerging Tech Artist Program.” The program will be a year-long, full-time program where recently graduated, tech-focused theater students can utilize their degree and focus on areas they may have missed in their coursework.

Community Cancer Association $5,500

This grant will provide the association the ability to ease the financial burden of cancer patients. The fund will provide patients with money for prescription drug costs, wigs, transportation and anything else the patients might need.

Creative Waco $5,000

These funds will be put toward a program called “The Artwork Program.” The program is for at-risk youth who like the arts but don’t have an outlet in which to utilize their skills. Through the program, the youth will learn practical skills such as time management and budgeting, and at the end of the program, they will create a mural.

Communities in Schools $15,000

This grant will go toward finding and funding a new coordinator within Waco Independent School Districts (ISD). With this money, the organization can impact the next generation of students.

Reach $3,000

This organization serves people with special needs in the Waco community, from autism, to post-war veterans with PTSD. The funds will be going toward a scholarship fund that helps people with special needs receive the services they need like therapy.

American Gateways $4,500

This organization provides legal representation to underrepresented populations in the country. The grant will be completing the salary to bring their second employee on full-time.

Take Heart Ministries $3,000

This non-profit provides women’s hygiene products to women around Waco who can’t afford them. The grant will help increase production and aid girls who are in school and need feminine hygiene products.

Pack of Hope $5,000

Pack of Hope distributes food to children who don’t have food to eat on the weekends when they aren’t in school. They serve 1,200 children a week and can feed one child for a whole year with $195. These funds will allow the organization to obtain a trailer to transport food in.