Philanthropy students’ donations help local community charities

Heidi Pullig
Picture by Pixabay

Undergraduate students at Kent have made a £1,800 donation to two local charities as part of their philanthropy studies.

The students from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research awarded funding to Napier Friends in support for refugee and asylum seekers in Napier Barracks in Folkestone, and City Impact, a youth charity working supporting disadvantaged young people and young offenders in Canterbury.

The grant giving was part of the students’ Learning by Giving – Philanthropy in Action module. The basis of the module is for students to lead decision making processes as a grant funder. The £1,800 funding pot was donated to the University by humanitarian David Jamilly.

The module is run in partnership with Kent Community Foundation who managed the grant and have co-delivered several workshops, providing students with insight into the charitable sector, grant making processes, and assessing the needs, strengths and challenges of charitable giving. Students also heard from several charities outlining their work and the issues locally that they are trying to address.

Natalie Smith, Director of Grants & Impact, at the Kent Community Foundation said: ‘Kent Community Foundation has been delighted to facilitate the University of Kent Student Philanthropy Fund again this year, with a cohort of engaged young people learning about effective grant-making by actually doing it. It’s an innovative and empowering approach which we are very pleased to be part of.’

Dr Alison Body, Senior Lecturer in Philanthropic Studies and Social Policy, Centre for Philanthropy, added: ‘This module offers a powerful learning experience for students, engaging them in the University’s civic mission and enhancing awareness of social problems and charities in the community. It challenges attitudes, behaviours, interests, and intentions related to social responsibility and civic engagement and our student feedback shows that this leads to improved critical thinking, leadership, communication, and work-life skills. The enthusiasm and engagement of the students was incredibly powerful., leading to grants being awarded to two important local causes and we are grateful for the support from Kent Community Foundation in the learning process. as well as our funder for providing the means to run the module.’

This is the third year that this module has ran, with students last year donating grants to Music 4 Wellbeing CIC and City Impact. The elective module is one of the first of its kind to be run by a UK university.

Second year Criminology and Sociology student, Visva Ravindran said: ‘As a person involved in the third sector from a young age, this course re-affirmed my interest in the area of philanthropy and the third sector. Challenging convention on what is considered philanthropy and understanding the value money has to the third sector organisations. Additionally, the struggle some organisations face in terms of funding, encouraged me to take a new perspective. I learnt about the difficulty in choosing between necessary trade-offs and it has deepened my appreciation for the work charities do. This module was engaging, unique and practical and I am proud to say I participated. This module allowed students to make an impact at University and I highly recommend others to undertake the course to benefit from the same experience.’