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U of M Joins National Network of Universities to Promote Philanthropy and Community Service Among Students
For release: October 10, 2011
For press information, contact Leigh Hersey, 901-678-1754.

The University of Memphis’ reputation as a leading “Community Engaged” university has again been recognized, with its selection as a partner school in the Learning by Giving Program.

Learning by Giving, begun in 2003, is a program of the Sunshine Lady Foundation, founded by Doris Buffett in 1996. The program promotes the study of philanthropy at the undergraduate level to prepare, empower, and inspire young adults to become effective, knowledgeable, and skilled philanthropists and leaders in their communities.   It now has more than 20 member schools, including Georgetown University, UNC Chapel Hill, and New York University.

The program will be launched at the U of M with an initial grant of $10,000 from the Foundation. The entire $10,000 Learning by Giving grant is for student grant-making. Students enrolled in the University’s “Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations” course will distribute the funds to local nonprofit organizations through a competitive grant process.

Learning by Giving builds on the University’s existing “Strengthening Communities” initiative, a collaborative of its School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy and the Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the United Way of the Mid-South, and the U of M Research Foundation. Strengthening Communities pairs University faculty with community organizations to implement neighborhood-based projects, funded through grant awards of up to $20,000.

“Our students will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing our community, and will then have the opportunity to become problem solvers,” said Leigh Hersey, assistant professor and director of research for the Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. “Learning by Giving is a natural fit for the University of Memphis, where 74 percent of academic departments are involved in community-based learning, and almost half of the student population takes part in such courses.”

The University of Memphis’ commitment to community service is reflected in its classification as “Community Engaged” by the Carnegie Foundation. The U of M was one of only 62 colleges and universities in the nation to receive the designation - and one of only a few to receive the highest level of that designation  -  when the classification was established in 2006.

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