Mount St. Joseph University

The Mount to launch new student philanthropy program


By: Keith Lanser

File Under: service learning, student affairs

The Cambridge Charitable Foundation has awarded Mount St. Joseph University a renewable grant to support up to five student philanthropy courses starting next academic year. Like service learning, student philanthropy experiences help to contextualize learning and are directly tied to program curriculum. The difference lies in that instead of having students donate their time and talents, student philanthropists make decisions about which nonprofit organizations will receive funds. This helps the students to make wise philanthropic decisions and it helps to expand the capacity of nonprofit organizations.

Each semester faculty will be awarded between $1,000 and $2,000 per course, depending on need and availability of funds. Once a course is designated as a philanthropy course, the professor will set the parameters for what types of organizations the students will research. Students will create criteria against which they will judge the organizations. Then, in teams, the students learn as much as they can about an organization, sometimes volunteering at the site to get a sense of the services provided. At the end of the project, each team will present a case for their organization and the entire class discusses and then vote on which organizations get the funding. They will also be able to raise more money if they wish to increase the amount they are able to give out.

“The mission of the service learning office at the Mount is cultivating transformational partnerships between students, faculty, staff and community partners through meaningful service in order to enhance critical thinking, personal development, and social responsibility for all,” says Keith Lanser, coordinator for service learning. “The new student philanthropy program strengthens our mission because it will allow us build even stronger ties with our community partners. Not only will students be able to share their time and talents with our community partners, but they will now be able to support them financially. This comes at a critical time for many of our community partners who continue to face significant fundraising challenges.”

For more information on the new student philanthropy program, please contact Keith Lanser at or 513-244-4634.