The purpose of the Student Funders Group is to strengthen the local community while training the future nonprofit workforce. This program is an interactive, hands-on educational experience for EMU students who plan to work in the nonprofit sector after graduation. It is important for students to understand the grantmaking process in order to be better grant writers in the future. The ability to write and apply for grants is a vitally important skill in the nonprofit sector.
With faculty oversight provided by the NLA Campus Executive Director, the students gain practical experience in grantmaking instead of just learning about it in theory. The curriculum helps students understand the needs of nonprofit organizations when requesting funding, the pressure of selecting a grant request when there are many worthy nonprofits to support, and the skills needed to make high-impact decisions. Students learn the basics of grantmaking, local community needs, develop funding priorities, create a Request for Proposal, promote it to local nonprofits, evaluate applications, and grant funding awards.
The 2017 Student Funders Group chose to grant $4,000 between Food Gatherers and Growing Hope. The 2016 Student Funders Group provided a $2,000 grant to both the Corner Health Center and Ozone House. Funding for these grants came from the EMU Student Government and the United Way of Washtenaw County.