December 13, 2007
Whitworth One of Five Institutions Nationwide Selected for Student-Run Philanthropy Program
Whitworth University, one of five institutions nationwide selected to oversee $15,000 donor advised funds, will develop a student-run philanthropy project aimed at recommending grants to nonprofit organizations serving Spokane's West Central neighborhood, one of the poorest areas in Washington state. The donor advised fund is part of a pilot program, "Students4Giving," administered by the Fidelity® Charitable Gift FundSM ("Gift Fund") and Campus Compact. Students4Giving seeks to advance philanthropic education efforts at colleges and universities across the country, and to encourage community-based learning and partnership with local nonprofit organizations.
"This is a great honor and an important opportunity," says Whitworth President Bill Robinson. "As a Christian institution, we need to help our students develop a 'first fruits' mentality. Giving should be our first expenditure, not what we do with what's left over. If we claim to be Christ-centered, then philanthropy should be at the center of our personal budgets. This program will immerse students in the joy and the impact of giving."
Thirty-five universities and colleges nationwide submitted proposals and competed for the five winning slots; in addition to Whitworth, the selected participants are Boston University, California State University at Fresno, Portland Community College, in Portland, Ore., and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fidelity® will seed the individual Gift Fund Giving Accounts,®1 which will be overseen by the students participating in their respective schools' 2008 winter/spring nonprofit and philanthropy courses.
"It is our hope that the Students4Giving program will help build upon the resources and academic infrastructure available to today's students," says David Giunta, president of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. "By doing so, the program will help provide students with the knowledge and inspiration to become the next generation of philanthropic leaders working collectively to help address some of the critical social issues facing our communities today."
Campus Compact teamed with the Gift Fund to develop the Students4Giving program as part of its work to educate students for social responsibility. Campus Compact is a national coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to the civic purposes of higher education. Whitworth is one of the organization's 1,100 member campuses
Campus Compact President Maureen F. Curley notes, "Our review panel of foundation and philanthropic leaders faced a difficult choice in selecting five winners from the very strong pool of applicants. Whitworth's proposal was exceptional for its integration of philanthropy, student leadership, and community engagement in a way that leverages existing structures to create new approaches that will have a lasting impact."
According to Rhosetta Rhodes, a 1999 Whitworth alumna who co-developed the Whitworth Students4Giving proposal as director of the Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement at Whitworth, the typical way to learn about the mechanism of philanthropy is through on-the-job experience.
"Participation in the Students4Giving program will give Whitworth students a rare opportunity to learn about philanthropic giving before entering the job market," Rhodes says. "Through Whitworth's service-learning program our students are already learning about and serving community needs, but we also want to encourage a culture of philanthropic giving."
Following are highlights of Whitworth's pilot project "Engaging Community, Inspiring Philanthropy":
"My hope is that through this project, students become more deeply engaged in the community, gain an understanding of the community's critical issues, draw attention to those issues, and raise funds to help address them," Rhodes says. "I want to see the ripple effect of philanthropy expand so far that everywhere these students go after they graduate, we'll see the results of their experience at Whitworth."
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
1 The Giving Account is the Gift Fund's donor advised fund.
Rhosetta Rhodes, director of the Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Partridge, Campus Compact, (401) 867-3922 or email@example.com; or Fidelity Corporate Communications, (617) 563-5800.
Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3729 or firstname.lastname@example.org.