MURRAY, Ky. — Nonprofit leadership studies students at Murray State University awarded a $3,000 grant to the Murray-Calloway County Senior Citizens Center in December as part of a student philanthropy course.

The Giving, Philanthropy & Grants course, which is taught by Dr. Peter Weber, aims to provide students with hands-on experience with grant-making and philanthropy by working with real money and organizations to create positive change in the community.

“The course is an incredible learning experience for students because they develop best practices in both grant-making and grant writing as well as program evaluation and development,” Weber said. “Furthermore, they grow professionally by networking with local nonprofit leaders and refining their communication skills.”

Funding for the class comes from a portion of the Giving Back Endowment established by Dr. Bob and Patricia Long in 2008. Bob, who previously served as a distinguished visiting professor at the University, and Patricia envisioned a part of the endowment as a way for students to become key decision-makers in the distribution of grants.

“I think that what students take away [from the class] is that their involvement in the community is worth something,” Patricia said, according to an article in the University’s alumni magazine.

Over the course of the semester, participating students developed vision and mission statements that included the guiding principles and goals the class collectively wanted to prioritize. The students then used the statements to create a Request for Proposals and to evaluate all grant submissions they received.

In fall 2018, a total of 13 local nonprofit agencies submitted grant proposals for consideration. After a careful review of the applications and several on-site visits, the students awarded the $3,000 grant to the Murray-Calloway County Senior Citizens Center on Dec. 4 during an award ceremony.

“One of the crucial factors in selecting the Senior Citizen Center was clearly seeing how the grant would make a direct impact on the organization by improving its capacity and increasing its ability to deliver crucial services aimed at improving the lives of the elderly in our community,” Weber said.

Previous recipients of the grant include Soup for the Soul, Merryman House, CASA by the Lakes and Lotus (formerly Purchase Area Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center).

If you are interested in learning more about the Giving Back Endowment and how you can make a gift that will impact the lives of many, please visit or contact Melanie Brooks in the Office of Development at 270-809-3026.

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