Jacket Philanthropy Program

Learning by Giving

The Jacket Philanthropy Program is an academic service-learning program supported by the David & Frances Brain Center for Community Development. The program aims to nurture a new generation of philanthropists through grantmaking and community service. Students enrolled in a Jacket Philanthropy Program course provide direct service to local non-profits and award grant funding to organizations meeting immediate needs within the community. 

Community Impact

Over nine years, the Jacket Philanthropy Program has engaged nearly 600 students with 50 local non-profit organizations and awarded over $145,000 in funding to community programs.

Programs funded include:

  • School uniforms for local youth experiencing homelessness (West Side Catholic Center)
  • Art therapy program supplies for youth (Bellefaire JCB and Applewood Centers)
  • Housing kits for expectant mothers in Cleveland (Merrick House)
  • Creative writing summer camp for youth (Lake Erie Ink)
  • Car Seats for Healthy Families Program (University Settlement)
  • Photo of student helping two women on computers

    A student from a BW English course — Grant Writing (ENG 309) — facilitated computer skills classes for residents at Cleveland's Cogswell Hall.

  • Photo of BW students with award check

    Students from a BW public health course — Health and Social Justice (PHT 375) — celebrated a success grant proposal resulting in funding to develop resources for health and technology programs at Eliza Bryant Village.

  • Photo of woman receiving award check

    Lake Erie Ink Executive Director Amy Rosenbluth celebrated receiving a grant at the annual Jacket Philanthropy Awards Ceremony.


About the Program

The BW Jacket Philanthropy Program is a course-based, service-learning program that engages students in volunteerism and the grant-making process. Courses are open to students of all majors, from first-year students to seniors. Courses have been offered in business, English, psychology, public health and sociology.

Students are paired with local non-profits working in the areas of children and youth programming; neighborhood development and revitalization; and hunger, homelessness, and health issues. In addition to providing direct service to their organizations, students develop a Request for Funding Proposal, prepare a grant proposal for their program, and engage in a group decision-making process with their classmates to award $5,000 in grant funding. 

At the end of the semester, many students choose to continue serving at their program sites, with some advancing to internships and full-time employment opportunities. 

"My service learning experience helped me learn to be more open to exploring things from multiple perspectives and points of view."
 student from ENG 308

Program Learning Goals

The goals of the Jacket Philanthropy Program are modeled off of Ohio Campus Compact's Pay it Forward initiative.

  • Award charitable dollars to worthy organizations with strong proposals that address immediate economic needs in partnership with nonprofit agencies.
  • Build stronger communities through a skill-based volunteer force that enhances contributions through hours served and financial resources.
  • Provide students with the intellectual knowledge and practical experiences needed to manage philanthropic funding, including conducting needs assessments, establishing funding criteria, researching local nonprofits, interviewing community members, and developing writing, decision-making, accounting and evaluation skills.
  • Engage students and faculty with different communities in order to promote understanding and connection.
  • Serve as a model for philanthropic organizations interested in passing along the practice and knowledge of philanthropy and volunteerism to younger generations.

Jacket Philanthropy Funders

Thank you to our generous 2018-2019 Jacket Philanthropy Program funders:  

Zilber Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland
The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation
Harry K. and Emma R. Fox Charitable Foundation
David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement