by Geoff Larcom, Published March 02, 2011
YPSILANTI – A group of Eastern Michigan University students is awarding grants to local nonprofit organizations as part of a project made possible through a $5,000 grant from Women in Philanthropy at EMU. The Student Grant Project will award $500 each to 10 nonprofits in the Washtenaw County service area to help improve their fundraising and marketing capabilities.
The Student Grant Project was created as a subset to EMU political science professor John Fike's nonprofit fundraising class and by the EMU Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Program (formerly American Humanics), run by campus director Claudia Petrescu.
"EMU and NLA are training the next generation of nonprofit leaders, and the faculty here thought this a wonderful opportunity to provide students a real-life grant proposal scenario while helping the community," Petrescu said.
The mission of the Student Grant Project is to strengthen nonprofit organizations in their efforts to build capacity in sustainable fundraising and marketing projects.
"Our students wanted to join the increasing emphasis on nonprofit capacity-building efforts because they know that nonprofits are the key to making our society better and more sustainable for our citizens," Fike said.
The students developed a funding process, which includes development of grant proposals and evaluations, and selection of applications. They have been soliciting proposals and will inform the winners in March or early April.
"Often, you only get to work on writing grant proposals, but here, we [the students] have been provided a unique opportunity to experience the full spectrum of the grant making process," said Melissa Fava, one of the EMU students involved in the project.
Capacity building is an important asset to a nonprofit organization's ability to serve its constituencies and fully achieve its intended objectives.
"The Student Grant Project is an exceptional chance to assess and discuss the qualities and characteristics of nonprofits in the context of capacity building," said EMU student Mary Alice Truitt, a member of both the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and the Student Grant Project.
Nonprofit organizations interested in applying can go to the EMU Nonprofit Leadership Alliance website, www.americanhumanics.emich.edu to download an application. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 734-487-1612.