“If the primary goal of this program is to spark and expand student interest in philanthropy and educate future changemakers, then Emory’s Philanthropy Lab has written an incredible success story,” said President Fenves. “Over the past three years, Emory undergraduate and graduate students have played a key role in distributing more than $200,000 in grants to Atlanta-based nonprofits. And that support is being put to great use benefitting communities across the city.”

Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves addresses participants in the annual Philanthropy Lab Giving Ceremony.

In its third year at Emory, the course is co-taught by Brian Goebel, managing director of the Business & Society Institute, and Tene Traylor, fund advisor of The Kendeda Fund. Emory’s Philanthropy Lab class continues to grow. Since last year, the class’ enrollment doubled in size, the number of grant recipients increased from 10 to 13, and grant dollars awarded rose from $55,000 to $85,000.

The Philanthropy Lab course introduces business school students to the role of philanthropy in addressing inequality in Atlanta. The class partners with the Center for Civic Innovation to identify innovative nonprofits addressing inequity through justice, arts, food security, youth development, and more.

“The Institute’s mission is to address complex challenges confronting people, the planet, and the business community through academic discovery and purposeful action. To accomplish that mission, we develop next-generation business leaders that are prepared to build a climate-smart and equitable world,” Goebel said. “Experiential classes like Philanthropy Lab empower us to develop such leaders.”

Goizueta students were honored to award 13 local organizations with grant funding at the Philanthropy Lab Giving Ceremony on Wednesday, April 20. Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves and Goizueta Business School Interim John H. Harland Dean Karen Sedatole joined faculty, grant recipients, program partners, and students. This special event was made possible through the Business & Society Institute’s spring semester Philanthropy Lab course for both MBA and BBA students.

Funding Grants Awarded to 13 Atlanta-Area Nonprofits Addressing Inequity

The following community organizations were selected by students of the 2022 Philanthropy Lab Course to receive grants ranging from $2,000-$12,000. Read more about each organization and its mission.

  • Athleaders 360: To fundamentally change the way we use sports to develop youth in this country. By meeting young athletes where they are—that is their love of sports—we offer programs and initiatives uniquely catered to their needs and interests as athletes.
  • Art in the Paint Corporation: To collaborate with other service providers and artists to beautify the community. Programming created around the new and improved courts will give opportunities to kids who can’t afford to go to members-only community centers.
  • Close Ties Leadership Program: To close the opportunity gap for Black boys by cultivating leaders and providing opportunities through exposure, mentorship, and service.
  • Cool Moms Dance, Too: To help 1 million families access fun, culturally relevant, accessible, and healthy alternatives for mental, emotional, and physical health by 2023.
  • Helping Empower Youth: To provide an opportunity to inspire, motivate, and mobilize young people to take action that changes their world.
  • Historic Westside Gardens ATL, Inc.: To advance the wellness of the Westside through home food gardens, wellness education, health advocacy, and economic empowerment.
This unique course is taught in partnership with the Philanthropy Lab based in Fort Worth, Texas. The Philanthropy Lab aims to expand student interest and participation in philanthropy. Since 2011, the Lab and its partners have invested more than $12 million in 32 partner schools to facilitate experiential courses on philanthropy.
  • Learning in Color: To raise awareness on how color impacts learning. We paint and design color-rich learning environments in classrooms to increase student engagement and promote the highest possible academic outcome for all learners.             
  • Make Music Count Organization Inc.: To increase elementary and secondary students’ mathematical skill development through piano playing and reducing their math anxiety.
  • READI Consulting, LLC: To provide workforce training to entry-level workers qualifying them for higher-paying jobs.
  • SAVE Institute Inc: To SAVE Black boys from cycles of poverty, crime, incarceration, and lack of purpose through engagement in service, agriculture, vocational training, and entrepreneurship.
  • Sensory H2O: To enable people of different ages, diverse communities, and physical and mental abilities to gain the necessary tools to swim through skills, education, and recreation.
  • Step Ahead Scholars: To help students and families overcome barriers while transitioning from high school to college and beyond.
  • Umi Feeds: To serve the hungry and homeless healthy and nutritious meals. We rescue food from consumers, farmers, manufacturers, restaurants, grocery retailers, private chefs, events, caterers, and food service providers.

Grant Empowers Black Boys to Reach Their Full Potential

One grant recipient, the Close Ties Leadership Program, was founded by educator and Atlanta native Brandon Martin. His idea for the nonprofit came as he noticed a lack of opportunities for Black boys to thrive. While many programs might prevent them from falling into pitfalls, not enough energy was focused on helping Black boys reach their full potential.

“My overall experience with Emory Philanthropy Lab has been remarkable from start to finish. The application required deep thought and reflection on the impact that Close Ties Leadership Program has made, and our strategic plans both in the short-term and long-term future,” said Martin. “I appreciate how personable the Emory students were through each step of the process and I could tell that they were deeply invested in countering inequity in Atlanta through the questions they asked in our interview.”

Students Gain Perspective, Firsthand Experience, and Inspiration from Mentors

Participating students gain invaluable, firsthand experience. In addition to learning through conventional methods like lectures, discussions, papers, and studying, they put theory into action.

This year’s class was divided into seven mini-foundation teams. Each team delegated member responsibilities, established a specific mission, identified potential grantees, reviewed grant applications, and selected the final grant recipients. Students gained insight from nonprofit leaders, Emory faculty, civic leaders, and philanthropists.

Carolyn Collins 22MBA chose the Philanthropy Lab course after being very involved in a prior employer’s giving program. She was drawn to the fact that the course provided a hands-on way to learn and practice good philanthropic giving while giving real grants to local organizations.

I’ve really loved the guest speakers throughout the course. It was amazing to have real practitioners who are doing incredible work in Atlanta come to speak to us about the challenges and triumphs they’ve experienced as philanthropists. They were honest about how far Atlanta has come and how much work lies ahead of us, which made me excited to go get engaged in organizations within my community.

Carolyn Collins 22MBA

Robby Wilson 23BBA was especially interested in Emory’s Philanthropy Lab because of the specific focus on equity, something he feels isn’t always considered within philanthropy.

I thought this program gave me a much better sense of how to use business acumen within philanthropic settings, as well as introduced me to leaders in the philanthropic sector to describe what their work looks like. As a result, this class has helped open doors and envision a future career in philanthropy.

Robby Wilson 23BBA
Photos from the Philanthropy Lab Giving Ceremony were taken by student volunteer photographer Vanecia Thompson 22EvMBA. View more photos from the ceremony here.

Through research, programs, and courses like the Philanthropy Lab, the Business & Society Institute works on the critical challenges that businesses and their stakeholders can address together.

Learn more about how the Business & Society Institute offers students experiential learning opportunities to engage with community members and global organizations on issues of social and environmental significance.