The Heartland Family Service Student League members recently participated in a “Philanthropy 101” event, learning what it means to be a philanthropist and how they can become philanthropic in their daily lives. The students worked together to identify the key characteristics of crafting a compelling grant application, including what sets their request apart from other grants whose format may not be as successful.

The “Philanthropy 101” event is usually held in person, but was moved to a virtual format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the sessions with live attendance can garner more participation and lively feedback, the virtual nature of the event did not put a damper on the important information being presented. The special session was organized by Tanner Downs, Community Relations Coordinator, who coordinates volunteer opportunities for Heartland Family Service and leads our Student League and Junior Friends groups. 

Heartland Family Service team members took part in the event to give real world lessons and tips. Marzia Puccioni Shields, Chief Development Officer, Jane Howard, Grants and Contracts Director, and Noelle Hoeft, Grants and Contracts Coordinator all gave their expertise in development, and grants and contracts, as well as the more heartfelt aspects of philanthropy.

Marzia explained to the students what it means to be a philanthropist and that they don’t need to be millionaires to practice philanthropy. In fact, the Student League members had already become philanthropist themselves, following their time volunteering with Heartland Family Service. 

The students next heard from Jane Howard, as she walked them through the process of grant writing. She discussed aspects such as ‘grant prospecting’ and how important grants are to nonprofits and philanthropy as a whole. Following the grant lesson from Jane, students were then placed into two separate break out rooms where they took a look at two short grants and used their newly learned grant expertise to decide which sample grant should be “submitted” in a fun practice exercise. 

Finally, the event wrapped up with the students participating in a virtual trivia challenge, created and hosted by Noelle. The students had a lot of fun participating in this activity, showing off the great knowledge they had learned about philanthropy and grants! 

With the success of the virtual session of “Philanthropy 101”, the  members look forward to the next educational event they can attend, (hopefully in person, soon enough!).