Baylor Among Select U.S. Universities to Offer Philanthropy Lab Course

Newswise — WACO, Texas (Feb. 5, 2014) – This fall, Baylor University students will have the opportunity to participate in The Philanthropy Lab, a full-credit course in which students learn not only the history and philosophy of giving back but also gain practical experience in donating real money – at least $50,000 in Baylor’s case – to a worthy local cause.

Baylor learned in December that it would enter into a partnership with the Fort Worth-based Once Upon a Time Foundation, which began The Philanthropy Lab program in 2011. Since its founding, The Philanthropy Lab has given more than $2.5 million to build philanthropy education at select U.S. universities. Baylor will offer its first Philanthropy Lab course, “Philanthropy and the Public Good,” in fall 2014.

“In its most recent strategic vision, Pro Futuris, Baylor has committed itself to Transformational Education, Informed Engagement and Judicious Stewardship, which directly align with the goals of The Philanthropy Lab,” said Andy Hogue, Ph.D., lecturer in political science and director of Baylor’s Civic Education and Community Service Program, who will teach the Philanthropy Lab course.

“Informed Engagement leverages our intellectual and human capital in service of our local and global communities, and that commitment rests on sustained partnerships – the sort that can grow from a transformational experience like what The Philanthropy Lab would offer students,” Hogue said.

Baylor’s Philanthropy Lab class will receive between $50,000 and $100,000 based on course enrollment to distribute to deserving nonprofit organizations following the class’s semester-long evaluation process that involves research, comparison, site visits and debate.

Hogue said students will work closely with interested nonprofits to assess community needs in key areas such as homelessness, food insecurity, education, health and wellness and multigenerational poverty, evaluate the potential impact of financial giving and engage in a process of discerning how most effectively to distribute real money in addressing those needs.

“We hope that a partnership might emerge in which our students are transformed by the opportunity to engage community partners around issues of abiding public importance,” Hogue said.

The primary goal of The Philanthropy Lab is to ignite students’ interest and participation in philanthropy, encouraging thoughtful giving by providing funds to university philanthropy courses and enabling students to evaluate nonprofit organizations and award grants.

Since the fall of 2011, 873 students have participated in philanthropy courses whose giving was funded by The Philanthropy Lab. As the 14th partner, Baylor will join current Philanthropy Lab institutions Harvard University, Middlebury College, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Stanford University, TCU, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia and Yale University.

“We believe it is important for higher education to create not only well-educated leaders, but also responsible citizens. We feel that teaching students about philanthropy and instilling the value of giving back will pay dividends to communities as today’s students become tomorrow’s community leaders. Through the classroom debate and evaluative process in their philanthropy courses, we hope that students will learn to ask the difficult questions and to consider the moral dilemmas inherent to giving,” said Lauren Wolter, program director of The Philanthropy Lab.

Hogue said the academic component of the course will be structured as a seminar, with reading and discussion focused on the histories, ethics, practice and impacts of philanthropy and giving. He also plans to employ essays, news and scholarly articles, speeches and films, as well as guest lecturers and panels of practitioners in the philanthropy sector, such as nonprofit and foundation directors, and established givers.

For more information about The Philanthropy Lab, visit For more information about Baylor’s Philanthropy Lab course “Philanthropy and the Public Good,” contact Andy Hogue at 254-710-3250 or


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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