On Saturday, December 14, undergraduate students enrolled in the Leading and Investing in Social Change: Redefining and Experimenting with Philanthropy iGive course hosted a ceremony to award a $7,500 grant to a nonprofit organization of their choosing. These first-year students had the opportunity to develop and run a grantmaking process during the Fall semester and were given the opportunity to not only study the art of philanthropy but award an real grant to a local organization.
Throughout their first semester at University of Maryland, students researched and studied the history and practice of philanthropy. They were challenged to come up with a cause to support and a specific organization to benefit from the grant. Students learned about the specific needs of our nearby communities during the course, performed research on topics ranging from climate change to immigration, sexual assault to gun violence. After numerous passionate debates, papers and informal discussions, students narrowed their focus to find a local organization that provides support and services to survivors of sexual assault.
As a class, students created a request for proposals, read applications, interviewed applicants, conducted site visits and held discussions before choosing their final grant awardee. The class received proposals from local nonprofits, and ultimately chose Network for Victims Recovery of DC.
Founded in 2012, the Network for Victim Recovery of DC is dedicated to providing a seamless network of referrals and services to all crime victims in DC. They strive to empower victims of all crimes to achieve survivor defined justice through a collaborative continuum of advocacy, case management and legal services. The organization will use the grant to create trauma-informed trainings for Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a referral tool for survivors to know which providers have been trained on trauma informed practices for responding to and supporting survivors of sexual assault. Currently, there is no standard training requirement or ongoing educational requirements for OBGYN doctors, nurses, or staff regarding trauma informed care for sexual assault survivors.
Network for Victim Recovery of DC's Executive Director Bridgette Stumpf and Director of Advocacy Lindsey Silverberg joined the class for the grant ceremony. Lindsey Silverberg said, "These funds will help us increase the number of people who receive treatment and support quickly after an assault as well as improve the quality of their experience seeking services. Ultimately, we want to provide survivors with the confidence that they can access trauma-informed providers in the DC area."
During the ceremony, students reflected on what they learned during the semester and the impact the course has made on their lives. Many noted that they learned more about the nonprofit sector, social issues affecting our communities, and ways to get involved. One of the student presenters reflected on the experience said, “After taking this course, I now believe that I could see myself engaging in philanthropy in the future. This class has shown me what one can do if they are passionate about an issue in the world…it opened my eyes to philanthropists of the past, and has shown me how to become one of the future.”
The Do Good Institute proudly provides the funding for this grant every year. To learn more about the Network for Victim Recovery of DC and the impactful work they do, click here.