Six Community Nonprofits Receive Grants through Baylor’s Philanthropy and the Public Good Course

January 14, 2020

Students in Baylor's Philanthropy and Public Good class, in an ongoing partnership with The Philanthropy Lab, presented more than $75,000 in grants to six Waco nonprofit organizations. (Robert Rogers/Baylor University)

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WACO, Texas (Jan. 14, 2020) — Baylor University recently celebrated with six local community organizations at a ceremony in which more than $75,000 in grants were given to the nonprofits through the University’s “Philanthropy and the Public Good” course and its ongoing partnership with the Fort Worth-based Philanthropy Lab.

This past fall, funding for the course was provided by the Baylor/Waco Foundation led by the Solid Gold Neighbor Ambassador Council, composed of 25 local community members representing the five areas of focus of Baylor’s Solid Gold Neighbor community engagement initiative: economic development, health, education, cultural wealth and city growth. Students in the philanthropy class spent the semester evaluating 67 nonprofit organizations, ultimately landing on the six to fund:

  • Christian Women’s Job Corps, $5,000. The organization helps equip women in Waco and surrounding areas with job training and life skills through a six-month mentorship and education program.
  • Talitha Koum Institute, $20,000. Talitha Koum Institute (TKI) is a mental health therapeutic nurture center focusing on the brain development of extreme children from infancy to age 4. The program also extends to weekly parent education, a mentoring program for TKI school-age children, and community trainings regarding trauma-affected children and their care.
  • Family Abuse Center, $5,000. The center’s mission is to eliminate domestic violence in Central Texas by sheltering victims of domestic violence and preventing abuse from occurring through intervention and education.
  • Greater Waco Legal Services, $15,000. The organization provides aid to those who are unable to afford the services of a private attorney. It provides affordable legal services, free monthly legal advice clinics and legal empowerment workshops.
  • Inspiracion, $15,500. The nonprofit focuses on empowering at-risk Latino families to break the cycle of poverty by fostering parenting knowledge and skills that directly impact child development.
  • The Cove, $15,000. The Cove is a safe space created for students who are experiencing homelessness.

The “Philanthropy and Public Good” course was developed by Andy Hogue, Ph.D., associate dean of engaged learning in the College of Arts & Sciences and senior lecturer in Baylor’s Honors Program.

Real funds for real needs

Beginning in fall 2014, Hogue has taught a full-credit class of Baylor students, who have stewarded and given away more than $700,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations. Through this transformational undergraduate experience, students provide real funds for real needs in communities while cultivating a philanthropic spirit and developing as innovative leaders poised for a lifetime of generosity.

The fall 2019 class was taught by Jeremy Vickers, B.S.Ed. ’05, Ph.D., associate vice president of external affairs, and Holly Burchett, B.A. ’01, director of community relations at Baylor.

“Baylor University is deeply committed to the Philanthropy Lab and to academic philanthropy broadly because we recognize the substantial dividends that both the Waco community and our students gain through this initiative,” Vickers said.

“One of the pillars of the University’s Illuminate strategic plan is a transformational undergraduate education that provides our students with life-changing experiences that ignite leadership potential and increase their desire for wisdom, understanding of calling and preparation for service,” he said. “That is exactly what has happened through this course as students learn about the importance of engaging with the local community and being generous with their resources and time. We are excited to play a role in the economic development of our city as Solid Gold Neighbors, and we look forward to seeing the fruit that these partnerships will bear.”

Through the course, students were introduced to the incredible impact happening in Waco through its nonprofit organizations, which Burchett said further enhanced the Solid Gold Neighbor initiative.

“By working within our city to equip and teach students, we were able to create connections and provide funding in hopes to create even greater sustainable health and growth in our community,” she said.

President Linda Livingstone, Ph.D., attended the grant presentation ceremony at McLane Stadium and shared words of encouragement and how this work reflects Baylor’s Christian mission to equip students to make a transformational impact.

Encouraging thoughtful giving

The primary goal of The Philanthropy Lab is to ignite students’ interest and participation in philanthropy, encouraging thoughtful giving by providing funds to university philanthropy courses, with the goal of becoming self-sustaining, and enabling students to evaluate nonprofit organizations and award grants.

Started in 2011, The Philanthropy Lab and its donor partners have given over $9 million to build philanthropy education at 29 universities across the United States. More than 3,115 students have participated in philanthropy courses affiliated with The Philanthropy Lab. Baylor was the 14th institution to join the program, alongside such current partners as Harvard, Northwestern University, Princeton, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas at Austin and Yale.

Other universities that are part of The Philanthropy Lab include Abilene Christian University, Columbia, Dartmouth, Emory, Loyola University Chicago, Pepperdine, Rice, Texas A&M, Tulane, UC-Irvine, Notre Dame, Washington, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Washington University in St. Louis.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.