Students in Non-Profit Giving Course Overcome Pandemic Obstacles and Award $10,000

Students in Non-Profit Giving Course Overcome Pandemic Obstacles and Award $10,000

May 13, 2020

The COVID19 pandemic has taken a massive toll on non-profits and charitable organizations, as the need for services has skyrocketed while donations have dropped off. 

Against that backdrop, students in Dr. Ira Silver's Non-Profit Giving Course gathered on May 12th for a powerful end-of-semester ceremony over Zoom, where they awarded more than $10,000 to Rooted in Restoration, a Boston-based organization dedicated to providing services to the city’s most marginalized communities.

"This organization is nothing short of amazing," said senior Michal Gonzalez, who has volunteered with the group and brought them to the attention of his classmates. "These people have a lifelong mission to serve and restore the community. Whatever the gap is, they are determined to fill it. This is what humanity is all about."

Students in the Nonprofit Giving course are provided with $10,000 from the Learning by Giving Foundation to donate to a charity of their choice. They begin the semester by reading Dr. Silver's book, Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream, which shows how philanthropy can enable Americans experiencing hard times to move their lives forward. Students then begin a comprehensive process that involves researching local non-profit organizations, creating an RFP (Request for Proposals), reviewing bids, and doing site visits before determining how to spend the money.

The COVID19 pandemic threw a huge wrench into this year's effort, when Framingham State was forced to move to an entirely remote format after Spring Break. Class discussions moved to Zoom and site visits to the four finalist charities had to be done remotely.

During the ceremony, which was attended by nearly 70 people, including officials from the Learning by Giving Foundation and alumni from past courses, students walked through the entire process they undertook during the year, speaking passionately about the profound impact it had on each of them. Several students said their experience in the course cemented their desire to work for a non-profit after college, and some expressed a desire to launch one of their own.

Pastor Davie Hernandez, the co-founder of Rooted for Restoration along with his wife, says the award was the first grant the organization has received.

"We are humbled and grateful to be chosen from an amazing group of deserving organizations," Hernandez said. "We hope you not only see this as an investment, but consider visiting us, volunteering with us, and serving the people in all of our communities."

In addition to the $10,000, students also raised additional money on their own to donate to Rooted in Restoration, as well as Bottom Line, an organization that has helped thousands of low-income and first-generation students get to college, stay in college, and earn their degrees.

"Many of the organizations we reviewed are helping twice the amount of people they typically see due to the pandemic," said student Olivia Neiswanger. "It was important to all of us that we do as much as we can to help."

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.