Student Philanthropists: SVC Students Collaborate with The Bank of Bennington to Invest in the Bennington Community

March 21, 2013

Students in Dr. Jeb Gorham’s Philanthropy course at Southern Vermont College (SVC) aren’t only reading, writing, and studying for exams. These students are giving away real money to community organizations with a generous donation from The Bank of Bennington.

Designed by Professor Gorham “Philanthropy–Investing in the Community” provides students the unique opportunity to award grants that will impact Bennington County. The course was piloted in Spring 2012 and has again been funded by The Bank of Bennington for Spring 2013.

“The students prepared requests for proposals (RFPs) in three designated giving areas and released them to the community this month,” according to Professor Gorham. “Bennington County non-profit organizations can submit proposals in the areas of Youth Enrichment, Workplace Wellness, and Environmental Education.” Students will review requests using a developed scoring standard to determine which organizations will receive grants of up to $1,600.

The deadline for RFP submissions is April 17. Following the submission deadline, students will schedule site visits and interviews with applicants to assist in their grant-making decisions.

“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.”

Students who are majoring in Business, Communication, Radiologic Sciences, and Humanities have fulfilled required readings, engaged in discussions about the topics in the readings, and have visited The Bank to meet key personnel and to learn about their philanthropic giving model.

In early May, students will select and contact the grant recipients of the grants to disburse the funds. An awards ceremony will be held on the SVC campus Thursday, May 9. For more information, please go to or e-mail Professor Gorham at

The Requests for Proposals follow:

Our Southern Vermont College Philanthropy team is seeking to award a grant to an organization that will provide environmental education programs to the Bennington area. We will provide $1,600 to a non-profit organization demonstrating commitment to environmental sustainability through support of a new or existing environmental program. We hope to encourage local youth to understand and appreciate the natural world through activities that promote social consciousness, stewardship of natural resources, and community collaboration. For more information, please contact Nicole Peterson at CLICK HERE for the Request for Proposal.

We are looking for a non-profit organization within Bennington County that is interested in supporting workplace wellness in our community. Our goal is to provide funding to an organization that will support programs that promote health and wellness for Bennington’s workforce. Funding should be utilized to provide educational resources and encouragement to participants and businesses. Our team will grant $1,600 to an organization that best meets our grant criteria. For more information, please contact Douglas Spingola at  CLICK HERE for the Request for Proposal.

Our Southern Vermont College Philanthropy team is seeking to award a $1,600 grant to a non-profit organization focused on enriching the lives of youth in Bennington County. Our team’s mission is to support an organization that will create or enhance an after school or summer program that promotes responsibility, honesty, and communication. The most qualified applicants should provide opportunities for 10-15-year-old children to have fun while learning in new and creative ways. If there are any questions, please contact Pierre Massena at CLICK HERE for the Request for Proposal.