Undergrads to Award $10,000 in New Philanthropy Course

Twenty-five UC Berkeley undergrads are learning to be philanthropists this semester in a new Economics of Philanthropy course that will culminate in a $10,000 donation to a local nonprofit chosen by the students.

The new interdisciplinary course received the $10,000 from Doris Buffett, sister of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and founder and president of The Sunshine Lady Foundation, which invests in organizations and programs dedicated to providing opportunities for the advancement of education, well-being, and new life choices for the working poor and families in crisis.

The course is being taught by Nora Silver, executive director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership; Amy Lesnick, CEO of Full Circle Fund, a philanthropic organization focused on cultivating the next generation of community leaders; and Darian Rodriguez Heyman, former executive director of Craigslist Foundation and a Full Circle Fund fellow.

Over the semester, students will participate in a number of experiential learning opportunities, including engaging with real-world nonprofits, giving circles, social investors, and donors. In addition to choosing a nonprofit to award $10,000, students will hold a university-wide philanthropy symposium in April to educate Cal undergrads about giving.

The course was designed last year by a team of graduating business and economics students who won the 2009 Bears Breaking Boundaries Award for Curricular Innovation. The team beat out 28 other submissions to win the $5,000 first prize in the curriculum innovation category.