Learning by Giving

Doris Buffett and Economics of Philanthropy students gave more than $10,000 to area nonprofits in December. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Thanks to a class at UMW and a generous benefactor, hundreds of uninsured women will have access to life-saving health screenings.

Students in last semester’s Economics of Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector class awarded $10,500 in grants to three Fredericksburg-area nonprofit organizations, including more than $3,000 to the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic. Operated by the Fredericksburg Area Regional Health Council, the clinic will use the funds to buy additional equipment for such cancer screenings as breast exams and Pap smears.

The class gave more than $5,000 to Serenity Home of Fredericksburg, which serves chemically dependent men, to refurbish bedrooms. It granted $2,400 to THRIVE, The Healing Center, to fund employment-training programs for women.

Professor of Economics Robert Rycroft teaches his Economics of Philanthropy class how philanthropic organizations invest wisely for the good of the community. He guides students as they create a nonprofit organization, solicit grant nominations, review applicants, and choose recipients − all in one very busy semester.

The Learning by Giving Foundation, a project of philanthropist Doris Buffett and her grandson Alex Rozek, supports the class and 16 like it at universities across the country. The foundation funds $10,000 in grants annually for the spring class at Mary Washington. This year, UMW students also raised $500 through bake sales and a restaurant donation. The Mary Washington class has awarded more than $80,000 in grants during its eight years.