New SVC Class: Philanthropy, Works with The Bank of Bennington to Invest in the Bennington Community

March 7, 2012

Students in Professor Jeb Gorham’s Philanthropy course at Southern Vermont College aren’t only reading, writing, and studying for examinations; they have the enviable task of giving away real money to community organizations.

Designed by Professor Gorham, students in the new class are working in collaboration with The Bank of Bennington, which has provided a generous $5,000 donation to fund the grants the students will award. A mix of upper-level students who are majoring in Business, Communications and Healthcare Management, the students have fulfilled required readings, engaged in discussions about the topics brought up in the readings, and have visited the Bank to meet key personnel and to learn about their philanthropic giving model.

“The students are now preparing requests for proposals (RFPs) which are divided up into three designated giving areas,” according to Professor Gorham. The three areas the students are looking for proposal requests from Bennington County organizations include Autism-related Programming and Outreach, Youth Enrichment Grants, and Abuse Rehabilitation programs. Students will review these requests as they come in (see more information below) and then use a point system to determine which organizations will receive grants of up to $1,600.

“Giving back is part of who we are,” said The Bank of Bennington President Jim Brown. “We are all part of the Bennington area community, and we all benefit by supporting the many non-profit entities who work to make this a better place to live . . . . The SVC students are learning first-hand about social responsibility, philanthropy, and the needs of our community. This is a great experience for them and The Bank of Bennington is glad to be a part of it.”
RFPs will be released to the community on March 16, 2012, and organizations will have four weeks to submit applications. The deadline for RFP submissions is April 13, 2012. Following the submission deadline, students may schedule site visits with applicants to assist in their grant-making decisions.

In early May, students will select and contact the recipients of the grants for disbursal of the grant monies. For more information, please e-mail Professor Gorham at