Philanthropy students donate to local chosen charities

University of Kent’s Centre for Philanthropy has worked with two undergraduate student cohorts to donate £3,250 to local community charities.

This year’s students from the Kent and Medway Medical School and the University’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research awarded funding to The Church Street Project based in Folkestone, which offers creative and talking therapies to children and young people, SATEDA, a Kent Domestic Violence Service and KRAN, the Kent Refugee Action Network.

The funding has been awarded to the organisations as part of the students’ elective module Learning by Giving – Philanthropy in Action, where students learn to lead decision making processes as a grant funder. Giving forms part of the module, with students receiving information about a number of local organisations each week before building consensus across the group about where they would like the money to go. Students heard from several charities in the region outlining their work and the issues locally that they are trying to address.

Third year Social Policy undergraduate Jess Cruttwell-Brown said: ‘I have learnt so much about charities, the role of the third sector and the importance of mindful giving. Philanthropy is something everyone does, it is not just about giving money or fundraising, it is about giving time, helping out in the community, supporting campaigns and speaking out about injustice. Now more than ever I would urge everyone to consider how they can support effective change in this country and internationally.’

The funding pots totalling £3,250 were generously donated to the University by humanitarian David Jamilly, who has supported the module since its first cohort in 2020 and Pears Foundation, a funder of the Kent and Medway Medical School and Centre for Philanthropy. Sir Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair, Pears Foundation said: ‘I greatly enjoyed meeting with students from the Kent Medical School and hearing their experiences exploring local causes and building group consensus, leading to their support of a local project for children and young people’s mental health.  We look forward to supporting the development of this module as it grows across the university and to hearing from more students who have engaged with local community organisations in this experiential way.’

The module is run in partnership with Kent Community Foundation who administer the funding and deliver several workshops to students, providing insight into the charitable sector, funding processes, and assessing the needs, strengths and challenges of charitable giving. Danielle Nash, Grants Officer at Kent Community Foundation said: ‘Partnering with the University of Kent students for the third year on this innovative fund has been a fantastic experience. We are grateful for the dedication and effort put in by both the students and the staff. Hearing their insightful thoughts and opinions on the funding requests received has been invaluable. We have greatly enjoyed working with them.’

The elective module is one of the first of its kind to be run by a UK university and has received additional funding from Pears Foundation to expand the programme in the 2024/2025 academic year. Up to 100 students will be offered the opportunity to take it as one of their elective modules with the module offered across different schools and courses at the University including Law, Politics and Business. A funding pot of £10,000 will be available to local organisations.

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