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9 local nonprofits receive gifts from Baylor philanthropy course

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A group of Baylor University students presented a total of $52,250 in donations to nine nonprofit groups Tuesday to cap a semester of learning about philanthropic work. During the presentation in the President’s Suite at McLane Stadium, President Ken Starr recognized the 19 students in the spring “Philanthropy and the Public Good” course, who then presented portions of the $52,250 to nonprofit representatives.

Students met with dozens of nonprofit groups this semester before deciding on the nine that best aligned with the following community needs: health and wellness; hunger and homelessness; children, youth and education; human services and civil rights; community development; and culture, arts and the environment.

“It sort of gets more fun as we go,” said Andy Hogue, who taught the course for the fourth semester. “It continues to have stellar students who are devoted to this work, who take it very seriously, who view it as sacred work in many ways.”

The class gave Creative Waco $5,000, and Executive Director Fiona Bond said the students from the class were engaged throughout the process.

“We’re always hearing how millennials are self-centered and how they do a horrible job of being active members of community and society,” Bond said. “Each time I work with students with this class, I am given hope that’s not true. They buck that trend.”

Last semester, The Once Upon a Time Foundation, a Fort Worth based program, provided more than $50,000 that was donated to seven nonprofit groups. Leftover funds from last semester made up this year’s money, in addition to gifts from private donors and Aramark, Baylor’s food services vendor.

The Fort Worth foundation works with universities across the country.

The Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor received $5,500 to provide breakfast to about 1,000 Waco High School students on mobile carts designed for accessibility.

“We are really excited that they chose to fund this particular project,” said Doug McDurham, Texas Hunger Initiative’s director of communications and student engagement. “We know that a lot of students in our community experience food insecurity.”

McDurham said Hogue has created an opportunity for young people to understand not only the scope of need in the community but also how financial resources can address the needs.

Senior Kevin Renois said he feels more knowledgeable about the community after taking the class.

‘Love mankind’

“I didn’t know very much about the social sector or about the nonprofits in Waco before taking this class,” Renois said. “Andy did a great job of teaching us the philosophy of what it means to do charitable work, what it means to love mankind and Waco specifically.”

Restoration Haven received $10,000, the largest gift in the batch. It will fund two vans to transport children participating in after-school programs. The nonprofit group aims to end poverty by providing basic needs and empowering families.

Starr said this particular course is his favorite at Baylor, despite the fact that he teaches one at the law school.

“When we talk about transformational education, those can simply be hollow, empty words, or they can be filled with power,” Starr said. “This course is filled with power.”

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