Winners were announced for Strive to Thrive Lincoln, a grant project aimed at local non-profits and initiated by students in the Leading People and Project Management 411 course at the UNL College of Business Administration. Grant recipients included Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach, which was awarded $5,000, along with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Lincoln Literacy, both awarded $2,500.
Drew Oliver, a senior business administration major from Omaha, Nebraska, was one of the students who participated in the class project. He said statistical information from a study called Lincoln Vital Signs helped guide the student’s decisions to fund organizations which focused on helping the homeless.
“Helping children and homelessness were at the top of the needs list for Lincoln,” said Oliver. “As we went through the evaluation process we looked at what organizations we could select that would make the greatest impact. The Lincoln Vital Signs information which stressed poverty and its impact on children kept coming back to us.”
The Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach grant project is called the Homeless Identification Project, a prevention program that will assist hundreds of homeless persons each year attempting to obtain vital identification documents.
The CASA grant award will provide the ability to add a new volunteer training session to their 2016 schedule. With the additional session more volunteers can be prepared to advocate for abused and neglected children in the court system.
Lincoln Literacy will use their grant funds for English Language and Literacy Academy expenses related to assessment activities. The objective of the Lincoln Literacy programs is to assist people of all cultures and strengthen the community by teaching English language and literacy skills.
To be eligible for the grants, the nonprofits had to have federal 501(c)(3) status as a tax-exempt charitable organization. Applicants outlined what made their organization unique, the expected reach of their project and their ability to successfully execute the project. A total of 32 nonprofits submitted proposals.
The management class let both undergraduate and graduate students get a better understanding of the philanthropic process. Students learned how to initiate funding, create proposals, evaluate applications and also were responsible for awarding the $10,000 in grant funding made available from the Learning by Giving Foundation, which was founded by Doris Buffett, older sister of CBA graduate Warren Buffett ‘51.
Amber Messersmith, lecturer of management, taught the class for the first time this semester and believes she learned from it along with her students.
“Students learned a great deal about the community and the real issues faced on a daily basis,” Messersmith said. “They shared their commitment to being aware of the needs around them going forward, regardless of where they live. The process has changed our perspectives and made us grateful for opportunities and resources available to us.”