Blogpost: Achieving Impact Through Philanthropy Conference

By Gina Gallagher 

SANY0005Last fall, in EDUC 769, my classmates and I were able to experience a unique and powerful lesson in philanthropy. Thanks to the gift of a generous donor, we were able to give $100,000 worth of grants to two very worthy non-profits. We were so enthused by the project that a few students decided to take things a step further.

We knew that the selected non-profits were very grateful for our one-time gift, but they expressed a common frustration that many grants, although generous, did not have a mechanism for follow-up or for establishing a relationship with donors or a genuine dialogue about how they might use funds to leverage impact consistent with donor intent. We found this to be an intriguing question given the nature of a class that meets together for a semester and then disbands. This setup does not give way to developing an ongoing relationship between the class and its grant recipients, creating what the class identified as an interesting dilemma: how can we use our grants in a way that has the most impact on the funding—both present and future—of our grantees?

In collaboration with our grantees, we came up with a solution: At their request we are putting together a conference in which we engage with them to explore the options for ongoing impact, and will bring in an outside workshop leader in order to help leverage these grants for future funding. We will be hosting our non-profit grant recipients for a day of focused dialogue about “impact philanthropy” involving students from both classes in the planning and all sessions, as well as experts from local foundations. We plan to have an interactive dialogue about what impact philanthropy is and how to achieve it. We also hope to focus on the importance of communications strategy and the ways to leverage impact in achieving future grants.

The conference is open to everyone, so join us for a day of focused dialogue exploring impact philanthropy on April 3, 2013 at the University of Michigan. It takes place at the Henderson Room at the Michigan League. Visitor parking is available at

Palmer Commons Structure and Maynard Parking Structure. For those attending, RSVP to this event by Friday, March 29th. For further information, feel free to contact me (Gina Gallagher) at ginamaga@umich.edu.

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