A one-time grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga allowed a small group of freshmen to make a weighty decision: which non-profits would they choose to benefit from a $3,000 gift?
Dr. Deborah Arfken’s class of six students met each Tuesday this spring semester in the Young Philanthropist course, where they discussed the challenges of disbursing money. The course is a First Year Studies topics course, designed to provide a unique academic experience for students making the transition from high school to college.
After two classes, the Young Philanthropist students decided the money would in some way benefit children and it would not be awarded for administrative costs. Only non-profits supported by United Way of Greater Chattanooga were under consideration because the students were sure those groups had been properly vetted.
The class decided to donate $1,500 to the Children’s Home/Chambliss Shelter on Gillespie Road and $1,500 to the Walter E. Boehm Birth Defects Center on East Third Street.
Taylor Patrick, president of the mock foundation in the Young Philanthropist course, spent a lot of time volunteering at non-profits in Memphis as a high school student. She offered her time at the Boys and Girls Club, mentored at her church and visited her grandmother at a nursing home where they enjoyed the interactive playground for residents with dementia. Her experiences are what drew her to the course.
Patrick said she learned a lot about the Children’s Home/Chambliss Center when the class visited. “The money we are supplying will go towards diapers, formula and food. At the Birth Defects Center, families can use the donated money for gas expenses, food, and changing crutches for the children,” said Patrick, an English and pre-law major.
Patrick Cash, the public relations representative in the class, said his friends suggested he sign up for the class, and he is glad he did.
“I think it is interesting that we distributed real money to actually help people,” Cash said. Though he has not yet declared his major, Cash is considering a career in business, possibly accounting.