Learning to Give


Mary Sparacello

Tulane University students in “Philanthropy and Social Change” got a real-life lesson in philanthropy by giving away $50,000 to seven New Orleans non-profits.

“Every day of your life will bring opportunities to matter – to solve problems, to change systems, to serve people, to make the world just a little bit more fair, a little bit more kind. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish with your lives,” Tulane President Mike Fitts told the students at the awards in December.

Students hold giant $7000 check
Students from Michele Adams's class, "Philanthropy and Social Change," present Youth Empowerment Project with a $7,000 check.

The Philanthropy Lab, a foundation supporting philanthropy education at universities, sponsored the course for the second year in a row. The course is available through the Strategy, Leadership and Analytics Minor (SLAM), which introduces non-business majors to management practices and principles through a liberal arts perspective.

The semester-long course was directed by Michele Adams, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology in the School of Liberal Arts. According to Adams, the students started in the fall with a list of 45 nonprofits—all partners with the Center for Public Service. They then split into five groups, through which they conducted research, performed interviews, and undertook site visits.

“It’s a really difficult task because all the non-profits in New Orleans are doing amazing work,” said Adams.

Cody Beaird, a senior majoring in economics and philosophy and minoring in SLAMM, was part of the team that awarded a grant to Big Class, a program which cultivates young New Orleans writers by collaborating with schools and community groups.

“Their passion for education was evident immediately,” said Beaird.

Kortney Morrow, Big Class’s development manager, said the organization’s leaders were excited about how inquisitive the Tulane students were during the grant application process. “It’s great to see students at Tulane invested in the New Orleans community,” she said.

Students awarded money to the following nonprofits in five categories:

Community: Lowernine.org

Education and Arts: Big Class

Social Services: Kedila Family Learning Services, Project Lazarus

Well-Being and Quality of Life: Unity of New Orleans

Youth and Sports: A’s and Aces, Youth Empowerment Project