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Wesleyan's Social Change Class Gives $10,000 to 4 Connecticut NonProfits

The grant funds from the Learning by Giving Foundation allowed students to help educational, senior transportation and business employment programs in the Middletown community.

The Connecticut PreEngineering Program of Middletown was honored at a reception Wednesday by the Wesleyan University Money and Social Change class and awarded.
The Connecticut PreEngineering Program of Middletown was honored at a reception Wednesday by the Wesleyan University Money and Social Change class and awarded.

A Wesleyan University service learning class this week awarded $10,000 to four local nonprofits whose missions aligned with the students' "equal access" theme.

Wesleyan senior Alex Cantrell says his class, Money and Social Change, taught by Dr. Joy Anderson in Middletown, chose how to allocate $10,000 (in grants of $2,500 or more) to Middletown-area organizations that inspired students to want to form connections with each.

The money comes from the Learning by Giving Foundation which aims to increase learning/awareness regarding strategic philanthropy, Cantrell says. 

Groups awarded funds were:

  • Vista Vocational & Life Skills of Westbrook, a community-based educational program in Connecticut for adults with neurological disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders
  • Business Industry Foundation of Middlesex County, a Chamber of Commerce program that offers educational seminars and employment-related programs and sponsors the Middlesex County substance abuse action council, which conducts drug education and prevention programs for teens   
  • ITN Central CT, a transportation solution for seniors and the visually impaired which helps those 60 and older keep their independence through affordable rides, servicing Middletown, Cromwell, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, Portland, East Hampton, Haddam, East Haddam, Durham, Middlefield and West Hartford
  • Connecticut PreEngineering Program of Middletown which identifies minority and women students who have the potential for college and encourages students to pursue careers in mathematics, science, engineering and technology

The Wesleyan University Money and Social Change: Innovative Paradigms and Strategies class description provides insight into its mission:

This course will explore the role of capital in social change. If we rethink how social change happens — analyzing the nonprofit and public sectors, but also new sector-blending approaches and concepts like collective impact — how does our perspective on capital shift? As a part of this unique course, students will work through a process of selecting a set of local nonprofits to which they will grant a total of $10,000.

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