Freshman students from the College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program spent the Spring semester learning about, developing, and running a grantmaking process. Tasked with awarding $1,000 to organizations solving critical societal issues, students were broken up into five groups and given the opportunity to comprehensively study various social issue areas. Working in an online environment, the students awarded a total of $5,000 to five deserving organizations at the end of the semester.
The Public Leadership program, sponsored in part through the School of Public Policy, explores the theory and practice of leadership, empowering students to become social change agents through hands-on public service projects and examination of pressing social, political, and economic issues. During this course, students learned about philanthropy and leadership, researched organizations that were making change on campus, developed and reviewed Requests for Proposals, and interviewed select groups that applied for the grants. The award money, provided by the Do Good Institute, is on its way to making impact in several issue areas.
“This class offers students the opportunity to not only put their leadership skills into practice in a real world setting, but it also gives them the opportunity to look at organizations that are impacting communities in a positive way … Our students were a mix of excited and intimidated at first, but eased into the task as they realized that we were going to walk them through the process … students came out of this class as better and more informed leaders and citizens.”
Kelly Elizabeth Brower, College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program Coordinator
The five $1,000 grants were awarded to:
Imara Roose: Imara Roose is a mentorship program operating at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland. The program pairs women of color with girls of color, creating a safe and supportive environment for mentees. Imara Roose seeks to set Black and brown girls on a path for success during and beyond high school, and provide them with motivation, inspiration and guidance. ($1,000)
Hope for Henry: Hope for Henry offers support and entertainment to children with serious illnesses and their families. Currently, Hope for Henry offers full-time, year-round child life specialists at three area hospitals and has helped improve the treatment process for more than 60,000 hospitalized children. The program offers fun, stress relieving events and encourages children to keep up with and play an active role in their treatment using a rewards system. ($1,000)
Latino Student Fund: The Latino Student Fund works to combat education inequities in Washington, D.C. through its year-round out-of-school programs for low-income students. The fund empowers parents to advocate for their children, increases access to higher education for first-generation youth, and creates a network of peers and mentors to support young people even after they graduate high school. ($1,000)
Kaboom!: Kaboom! aims to ensure that all kids have a place to play. The organization builds and improves playgrounds, multi-sport courts and other playspaces in underserved communities. Kaboom!’s model engages residents and encourages them to take the lead in the planning and building process. Kaboom!’s newly built playspaces function as an investment in the communities, creating positive long-term impacts on residents’ quality of life. ($1,000)
StandUp for Kids: StandUp for Kids is a nonprofit that offers resources and stability to unaccompanied homeless and at risk youth. The organization addresses the needs of youth through four core programs: street outreach, outreach centers, mentoring, and housing. StandUp for Kids aims to advocate for young people, empower communities to support youth experiencing homelessness, and ultimately end the cycle of youth homelessness. ($1,000)