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Learning How Funders Think

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By Karen Guin

UCF graduate students learned first-hand how philanthropic organizations select programs to fund in a unique service-learning course taught this spring.

Ten students enrolled in "Philanthropy, Fundraising and Social Entrepreneurship" worked with the Community Foundation of Central Florida to learn what foundations look for when matching needs with resources.

The Community Foundation is an Orlando-based organization that manages and invests funds established by individuals, families and corporations. Members of the Community Foundation served as mentors who guided the students through a proposal funding cycle.

"The students were able to request proposals from nonprofit organizations, research and meet with members of the organizations, review budgets and outcomes information, and ultimately develop funding recommendations," said Stephanie Loudermilk Krick, the course instructor and director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance program in the School of Public Administration.

On April 26, the students presented their recommendations for approximately $100,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations at a meeting of the Community Foundation Board.

The board funded all of their recommended proposals.

"The board was very impressed by their presentations," commented school Director Mary Ann Feldheim, who attended the board meeting. "The students were so passionate and well-prepared. It was truly an exceptional learning experience."

Graduate students in any discipline were eligible to take the course. This first offering of the course included students in business administration, nonprofit management and social work.

Feldheim said the school plans to offer the course again in spring 2013. For further information, contact

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