The Campus Kitchen at BW

The Campus Kitchen at BW is just one of the new programs housed under the umbrella of the David and Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement.

BW expands community service under new name tied to alumni family legacy

August 18, 2016

A remarkable legacy of alumni service is fueling expanded community outreach at Baldwin Wallace University and has given rise to a new name for the office that oversees community engagement. The former Office of Community Outreach (OCO) is now known as The David and Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement in recognition of a big-hearted couple who made community service and philanthropy a centerpiece of their own family’s life.

A lasting family legacy of community engagement

The late David and Frances BrainFrances Brain attended Baldwin Wallace on a small academic scholarship from 1941-1943. The first in her family to attend college, she enjoyed every minute of her time at BW but always regretted that she was not able to complete her education and earn her degree.

David Brain ’52 attended BW on the GI Bill after serving in WW II. He was able to complete his degree in three years, working full time at night while supporting his wife and their two daughters. Following his graduation from BW in 1952, he pursued an MBA at Harvard Business School and went on to build a successful career in the insurance industry. 

Throughout their lifetimes, the Brains both gave generously of their time and talents to numerous community organizations and went on to found the Frances Hollis Brain Family Foundation, dedicated to providing for the basic needs of the underserved. In recognition of a transformational experience at BW, the couple established an endowment at BW to teach and mentor undergraduates in leadership skills and promote the understanding that it is the responsibility of all leaders to give of themselves to enhance their communities. 

Expanding the win-win impact of BW service

The Campus Kitchen at BWAmong the BW programs recently added or expanded with the Brain family’s support:

  • the new Brain Student Fellowship program focused on social change leadership,
  • the Election Engagement Team, engaging students in the political process,
  • expanded Alternative Breaks, with 14 service trips planned for 2016-2017, and
  • the new Campus Kitchen Project which uses food waste to fight hunger, and
  • the Brain Speaker Series. 

The expansion is also supporting additional opportunities to grow service-learning in the BW curriculum, which helps fulfill BW’s mission to develop contributing, compassionate citizens. Surveys of students involved in service-learning courses find 90 percent or more believe they can use their BW education to make a difference and plan to stay involved in the community.

“All of these programs provide invaluable experiential learning opportunities for BW students and build capacity resources for our community partners—a win-win,” said Christy Walkuski ‘04, director of the BW David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement. “We are pleased to build on the three decades of work that began as BW OCO—rooted in service and student leadership—while expanding opportunities and moving forward the vision and the legacy of the Brain family.”

Each year the Brain Center partners with more than 75 Northeast Ohio nonprofit and civic organizations, from the City Mission and Habitat for Humanity to Ohio Guidestone and Shoes & Clothes for Kids, through academic service-learning, community service, internships and immersion experiences.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference…it does”

The augmented, rebranded Brain Center challenges BW students to “Act as if what you do makes a difference…it does,” a William James quote. Some 35 student leaders annually step up to make a one-year commitment to serve on the student leadership team that powers the full roster of community engagement programs.

To find out more, visit The David and Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement website and follow @BWBrainCenter on Facebook and Twitter.

Students and Jacket Philanthropy grant recipients