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Southern Vermont College Philanthropy Project Enters Fourth Year

Southern Vermont College’s course Philanthropy – Investing in the Community is in its fourth year with a generous $5,000 funding commitment from The Bank of Bennington. The Bank’s funding has helped the students grant $15,000 to nine local organizations who do important community work. This spring, Philanthropy students will not only develop philanthropic funding campaigns from idea generation through requests for proposals to granting awards, but also work to collaboratively leverage additional funding for their grant-making.

Professor Jeb Gorham of The McCormick Division of Business and his students have a goal to at least match The Bank of Bennington’s level of funding this year. Students will investigate strategies for securing additional funds and then develop campaigns to implement their ideas. The College encourages students to actively integrate their classroom learning with real world experiences while engaging in the local and regional community in meaningful ways.

This year’s projects will focus on community initiatives to support and promote drug awareness programs for youth, rejuvenate open spaces by supporting environmentally conscious and socially responsible organizations, and promote and enhance health and wellness opportunities for youth. Three specific leveraging campaigns include students writing a series of grant applications in an attempt to secure additional philanthropic funds to be redistributed; a “crowd funding” team of students launching the “Give Us Your Change for Change” campaign; and contacting other local banks, College alumni and community members to see if they are interested in supporting the project.

“The students prepared requests for proposals (RFPs) in these designated giving areas and released them to the community this month,” according to Professor Gorham. The deadline for initial letters of interest is March 31, and grant applications are due April 12. Following the submission deadline, students will schedule site visits and interviews with applicants to assist in their grant-making decisions.

“Giving back is part of who we are,” said The Bank of Bennington President Jim Brown. “We are all part of the Bennington area community, and we all benefit by supporting the many non-profit entities who work to make this a better place to live. The SVC students are learning first-hand about social responsibility, philanthropy, and the needs of our community. This is a great experience for them and The Bank of Bennington is glad to be a part of it.”

In early May, students will select and contact the grant recipients and disburse the funds at an awards ceremony to be held on campus Thursday, May 7. For more information, please go to www.svc.edu or e-mail Professor Gorham at jgorham@svc.edu.

The Requests for Proposals follow:

B-YOUTH Drug Awareness Grant (support and promote drug awareness for youth)
Student philanthropists are inviting non­profit organizations to apply for funding that supports programs educating youth about drugs. The purpose of this grant program is to help build and sustain a stronger community and create more awareness of the substance abuse issues in Bennington County and surrounding areas. Currently, the team has available funds to award at least one grant in the amount of $2,000. For more information, contact Walter Ramos at wramos@svc.edu.

Community Open Space Grant
This team of students is deeply committed to sustainability, integrity and innovation. Their goal is to award funds to an organization that aims to either improve the general environment or enhance or reconstruct pre­existing open spaces in the community. Currently, the students have the available funds to award at least one grant in the amount of $2,000. For more information, contact Lacey LaCroix at llacroix@svc.edu.

Youth Health and Wellness Grant
As grant makers, we are physically active and would like to support programs that promote a healthy lifestyle for youth. We strongly believe in fitness, communication, supportiveness, and thoughtfulness and have identified these as core values. Our team wants to fund an existing organization or program that not only gets youth physically active but also instructs and educates youth about physical activity. Currently, we have available funds to award at least one grant in the amount of $2,000. For more information, contact Ryan Schuette at rschuette@svc.edu.

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