Corporate Social Responsibility class distributes grants to 16 local non-profits

April 29, 2013

Non-profit organizations do a great deal to help the communities around us, but they can't always do it alone.

One major driver of non-profit success is corporate giving, and students in Dr. Joyce Heames's Corporate Social Responsibility course receive hands-on training on the entire corporate giving process. The Spring 2013 class was comprised of 18 students, and the culmination of their efforts led to the awarding of grants to 16 local non-profit organizations.

The awards ceremony was heavily attended by students, non-profit organization representatives and B&E administration, faculty and staff.
Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla also attended the event and said he was previously unaware of the class' service to the community, praising their efforts as "absolutely phenomenal."

Originally proposed and funded by Cleveland-area philanthropist and WVU alumnus Bob Reitman, the Corporate Social Responsibility class has been in existence since 2001 and has provided Monongalia County non-profits with more than $220,000. Reitman's idea was to teach future business leaders the value of contributing to society and the community, and, as a result, the class travels to Cleveland each year to meet him.

The course aims to teach graduating seniors the importance of giving back to the community through corporate philanthropy and volunteer work. It's designed to inform students about the non-profit sector and how to invest precious resources in meeting community needs. Guest lecturers from both the business and non-profit sectors help students develop throughout the process, and each student must complete a minimum of 30 community service hours.

"Organizations face difficult decisions every day about how to be a viable business," Dr. Heames said. "This course is unique. It laces together business education with community involvement, while providing students with a foundation in philanthropic work. They experience the tough, heart-tugging decisions faced by businesses as they take on the role of a CSR allocation committee."

Each year, students are given the mission of evaluating 30-50 grant requests from Morgantown-area non-profits for a portion of the $20,000 budget set for the class. In all, the Spring 2013 class received $100,000 in requests. The students work together to allocate the funds as part of the B&E Corporate Citizenship Grant Project, the cornerstone of the course. It involves establishing a mission statement, soliciting grant requests from local non-profits, establishing criteria for choosing recipients, reviewing the request packets, determining the recipients and the amount they will receive, and holding a media event to distribute promissory letters to recipients.

This year's recipients were:

  • CASA for Kids
  • Chestnut Mountain Ranch
  • Children's Discovery Museum of West Virginia
  • Christian Help, Inc.
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Mental Health of America, Monongalia Co.
  • Monongalia Co. Child Advocacy Center
  • Milan Puskar: Health Rite
  • PACE Enterprises, Inc.
  • Rape & Domestic Violence Information Center
  • Scott's Run Settlement House
  • Senior Monongalians
  • St. Ursula Food Pantry
  • Sundale Nursing Home
  • Veterans Nursing Home of BOPARC
  • West Virginia Family Grief Center

The Spring 2013 class mission statement was:

"We, as future business leaders, collectively and individually, will embrace every opportunity to serve those in need by sharing our education and knowledge, administering our resources, and investing our time and effort to improve the quality of our community."