June 21, 2021

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Binghamton University students give over $14,000 to local nonprofits

Anna Bruce, program coordinator and board vice president at Gigi's Playhouse, and her son Camden. Anna Bruce, program coordinator and board vice president at Gigi's Playhouse, and her son Camden.
Anna Bruce, program coordinator and board vice president at Gigi's Playhouse, and her son Camden. Image Credit: David Campbell.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. ̶ Binghamton University philanthropy students have announced the recipients of over $14,000 in grant awards for 2021. The University’s Philanthropy Incubator program, which involves undergraduate and graduate students from two different courses, has awarded over $200,000 to Broome County nonprofit organizations since its inception in 2009.

Students in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program raised the money they give away as part of their training to become future nonprofit sector leaders. This year, the students in the graduate-level class raised $4,165 to support the Greater Good Grocery Store on Binghamton’s North Side, an initiative of the Broome County Council of Churches.

“Students chose the Greater Good Grocery Store because of the important role it is playing in eliminating the food desert that existed in that neighborhood, and because the Council of Churches will use these funds to match spending by low-income patrons to buy more produce and fresh food,” said Public Administration Assistant Professor Lauren Dula, the MPA course instructor.

The MPA students raised these funds despite their inability to conduct an in-person event. Instead, the students adapted their annual fundraiser, the Party with a Purpose, to be a virtual event, complete with speakers, games and networking opportunities. The event received support from students, faculty, staff and community organizations.

“I am incredibly proud of the MPA student volunteers who helped organize this event during one of the hardest years we have ever had,” said MPA student and event coordinator Alison Derevensky. “Running an online event and fundraising is challenging in itself, so raising this much during a pandemic was unprecedented.”

Undergraduate students from the Philanthropy and Civil Society course gave away a total of $10,000 to two organizations:

▪ $7,500 to Gigi’s Playhouse in Vestal, which provides support and services to people with Down syndrome and their families. The grant will provide general operating support to address decreases in fundraising revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
▪ $2,500 to The STACK Project, a new organization serving the Southern Tier that is providing financial literacy education to young people so that they are better equipped to manage their money and make financial decisions.

“The class wanted to send a message to Broome County funders about the importance of financial literacy and the value of The STACK Project’s work,” said Justin Reicher, the class liaison to The STACK Project. “We are proud to be one of The STACK Project’s first funders.”

The funding for the undergraduate class comes from The Learning by Giving Foundation, established by Doris Buffett to encourage students to learn about giving, and use the class to develop a habit of giving that will last their lifetimes.

Associate Professor of Public Administration David Campbell, who founded The Philanthropy Incubator in 2009, indicated that the grants from both classes reflect students’ commitment to Binghamton and Broome County.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic passed the year one mark, students remained focused on how local organizations were adapting to meet the needs of the community,” Campbell said. “Their biggest disappointment was they did not have enough resources to help other deserving organizations.”

The Philanthropy Incubator Program involves students enrolled in Binghamton University’s College of Community and Public Affairs and across the University who learn about philanthropy’s role in addressing community needs, and how to manage and lead nonprofit organizations effectively.

For more information about the Philanthropy Incubator or the grant awards, contact Campbell at dcamp@binghamton.edu or Dula at ldula@binghamton.edu.

Posted in: In the World, CCPA