Philanthropy and the Common Good class awards $78,600 to local nonprofits

Author: Erin Blasko

Students in Jonathan Hannah’s Philanthropy and the Common Good class at the University of Notre Dame awarded grants totaling $78,600 to five organizations during a ceremony Tuesday (Nov. 30), National Day of Giving.

The awards were as follows:

  • Youth Service Bureau (South Bend): $20,000 to pay for the stay of eight youth at the organization’s emergency shelter, which provides temporary shelter to homeless youth until they can find safe, stable housing elsewhere.
  • Motels4Now (South Bend): $15,000 to pay for an in-depth research project to help determine best practices and next steps for long-term housing solutions for the homeless. Motels4Now is a housing-first program that repurposes motels as temporary supportive housing for the homeless.
  • Cultivate Food Rescue (South Bend): $10,000 to support the organization’s backpack program for area schoolchildren. The program provides meals to qualifying students over the weekend, bridging the 68-hour food gap between Friday at lunch and Monday at breakfast.
  • Center for Community Justice (Elkhart): $17,100 to support 20 men and 60 women to re-enter the community from incarceration. The money will be used to outfit the men and women with backpacks with necessities such as socks, gloves, toiletries, feminine products, blankets, food and train tokens and to pay for volunteer training for the organization’s Transitional Recovery Coaching Program.
  • A Rosie Place for Children (South Bend): $16,500 to expand outdoor spaces and complete a sensory equipment wall that was initially funded with a grant from the 2019 Philanthropy and the Common Good class. A Rosie Place for Children provides respite care for medically fragile children and their families.

“It is such a privilege to teach our students about the importance of philanthropy in American society,” said Hannah, director of the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School. “I believe this class will give them a foundation to accomplish great things in their careers, and inspire them to always think about the common good and the dignity of others. I also want to thank all of the local nonprofit professionals that met with our students this semester. There are so many great people and nonprofits in the South Bend-Elkhart region.”

Offered through the Department of Political Science, the Hesburgh Program in Public Service, the Constitutional Studies minor and the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government, Philanthropy and the Common Good is an experiential course that offers students the opportunity to engage with local nonprofits while learning about the history and role of philanthropy in the U.S.

Students research and visit local nonprofits, request and review funding proposals and work as a board of directors to award real money to deserving organizations in the South Bend-Elkhart area, all with support from The Philanthropy Lab, a nonprofit devoted to philanthropy education, as well as the Office of Public Affairs, the Center for Social Concerns and Notre Dame alumni and friends.

Among this year’s class, sophomore Audrey Feldman and junior Jack Cordell will travel to Dallas next year to represent Notre Dame at The Philanthropy Lab’s summer conference, where they will have the opportunity to network with other philanthropy students and advocate for additional money for one of this year’s grant recipients.

“This is probably one of the most impactful classes I think I’ll ever take,” Feldman, an economics and global affairs major and philosophy, politics and economics minor from Connecticut, said of the experience so far. “It’s done a really good job of combining the academic study of philanthropy with actually doing it.”

Cordell, a political science and philosophy major from central California, agreed, and recommended the class to others.

“Philanthropy is an area that everyone should practice at least once,” he said. “They should understand what it means to give. They should know what it means to strategically and mindfully give your money away. And in such a way that it has great impact, because that’s far more difficult than what people think it is.”

Philanthropy and the Common Good students have awarded more than $208,000 to local nonprofits since 2019. The class will be offered again next fall.

Originally published at