Across America, great initiatives take place that not only benefit communities and people that could use some support to get a better life, but also help students understand more of the world around them. In California, for example, we’ve found this fantastic California State University Fresno -Humanics Program that is not only a Humanics Student Philanthropy Project but also provides Grant Writing Projects that allow the school’s students to write grant proposals and partake in Humanics Internships at nonprofit organizations in the region. The following video is a bit dated (2014) but describes well what to program is all about:
The Humanics Program at California State University-Fresno is part of a nationally operating alliance consisting of nonprofits, colleges, and universities, that is committed to preparing, educating, and certifying people to lead and strengthen Community Benefit Organizations (CBOs).
The Humanics Program at Fresno State is associated with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (formerly, American Humanics)–a nationally operating alliance of 60 colleges and universities and over 20 national nonprofits.
Humanics Student Philanthropy Project. This project started out in 2007 helped by a modest grant donated by the Fresno Regional Foundation. The project has flourished and is part of the initiative Students4Giving, a nationally rolled out initiative of Campus Compact and Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.
The project is part of the Sociology course “Philanthropy & Grant Making” that’s the school offers each spring semester. It provides hands-on experience in leadership and philanthropy as it allows students to set up and maintain valuable contacts with various community and charitable organizations, assess the needs of the communities in the region of the history-rich City of Fresno or anywhere else if needed, and learn ways to request for and evaluate various funding proposals.
Over 110 students awarded almost $30,000 to different charitable organizations over the past years and all through the Sociology course “Grant Writing and Evaluation” the students additionally learned how to evaluate the impact of previously awarded grants and how important good stewardship is.
Grant Writing Projects allow students to help research and prepare grant proposals that have brought over $2.1 million to community benefit organizations in the region. The grant-writing projects are good in a time when the cost of college tuition is increasing year after year and helps them find ways to find required funding for a college education. Federal Student Loans are available to students who otherwise not might have that option.
Humanics Internships allow for 300 hours of supervised internship with a nonprofit, community benefit organization. In 2016-2017, 35 Humanics students interned with 30 different CBOs (Community Benefit Organizations) and contributed 8,560 hours of service to the community (avg. of 245 hours per student).
Humanics Sustainable Partnerships Project. This project is part of the Social Innovation Generation: California Recovery and Renewal (SIG: CARE) initiative of California Campus Compact and Corporation for National & Community Service and funded by a Learn & Serve America Higher Education Grant and the Fresno Regional Foundation that’s also active through the Big Fresno Fair Educational Program.
As an important part of the two-semester course offering of “Governance & Financial Literacy for Leaders of Community Benefit Organizations” and “Entrepreneurial Approach to Sustainable Community Benefit Organizations,” this project fosters collaboration, civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and leadership through applying a team-centered, case-management approach to provide students with experience in nonprofit management consulting while working to improve the capacity, governance and sustainability of San Joaquin Valley’s CBOs. Several Fresno State students have additionally volunteered at the Fresno Food Bank, an enriching experience!
The Capacity Building & Technical Assistance component is involving three phases in which the teams will assist 5-6 CBOs each year through Humanics Consulting Teams that comprise 3 to 4 students, 1 university alumnus, and 1 professional coach.
The teams are conducting organizational assessments and will submit comprehensive feedback and work with CBO staff as well as board members for the identification of areas that must be prioritized, to implement various recommendations, and to evaluate the impact on an annual basis. So besides some famous and nationally recognized high-profile academic programs such as the Fresno State Winery Program, the school offers quite a few socially and culturally very relevant courses. Check out also this article about the Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Program.