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Student Philanthropy Council awards $10,000 to local nonprofits

By Upstate Institute on April 29, 2010

Four non-profit organizations in Utica, New Hartford, Esperance and Hamilton, New York, are the recipients of a total of $10,000 in grants funded by the Brennan Family Foundation. The twelve-member Upstate Institute Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) composed of sophomores at Colgate University considered fourteen applications from non-profits throughout central Upstate New York.

The grant awards will help to support the following projects:

  • Community Bikes in Hamilton, New York, will continue its program which provides refurbished bicycles to residents of the community. Funds will be used to purchase helmets and locks, as well as parts needed to put the bicycles in working order.
  • The House of the Good Shepherd in Utica, New York, will create a Wellness Initiative program for the youth it serves. Doctors will take initial health screenings of BMI and body composition. Fitness equipment including Wii Fit devices, will be put in its residential community, encouraging youth to be active and live healthy lifestyles.
  • The Leatherstocking Ballet in New Hartford, New York, will continue and develop its ballet program for refugee children. These dancers will be transported to the ballet studio for weekly classes and included in the winter performance of The Nutcracker. The refugee children will develop confidence and friendships as a result of their involvement with the ballet.
  • The Schoharie River Center in Esperance, New York, provides young adults with scientific education about the Schoharie River and its importance to our region, as well as gives them opportunities to develop and publish their own research about the river. The River Center will move to a new location and renovate an existing building on the property to house its operations. The new location will be better suited to serve youth and support the existing programs run by the center.

The SPC tapped into the knowledge gained from five seminars on philanthropy and non- profits taught by professionals on topics including the history of philanthropy, decision-making, and the best practices in non-profit management. In December, students worked with Ellen Kraly, the Director of the Upstate Institute and the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Geography at Colgate University, to better understand regional needs and demographics. The students then developed a Request for Proposals that focused on “serving at-risk youth, or preserving the environment or cultural climate of the region,” seeking to fund programs that combined these three areas of interest. Upon receiving fourteen grant applications, the students conducted an evaluation process that included careful review of proposals, site visits and phone conversations with potential grantees.

The year-long, non-credit bearing, service learning initiative is overseen by Ellen Kraly and supported by staff from the Upstate Institute at Colgate University, the Dean of College Sophomore Year Program, and the Annual Fund.

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