Studying Philanthropy to Further the Public Good in Waco, Texas
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In attempts to alleviate the conditions of poverty and create stronger communities, Americans, motivated to do good, often provide quick fixes to help the impoverished, rather than focusing on root causes and long-term impact. In the city of Waco, 30.6% of the population lives below the poverty level, which is the second highest rate in Texas. Philanthropy is one potential means to transform conditions of poverty, but permanent impact relies on philanthropic education. Last year, I participated in Baylor’s Philanthropy and the Public Good course. In a group of 30 students, I functioned as part of a foundation board and research team, and served as a grant writer, working with 75 nonprofits. While learning about strategic giving, we donated eight grants, totaling to $100,000. Through the experience, I discovered that strategic giving is connected to collaboration and philanthropic education. This thesis explores a definition of philanthropy, outlines the process of the philanthropy course, explains my experience of grant giving, and argues the significance of collaboration and philanthropic education for students as a means to improve Waco.