Georgetown University Graduate Class Awards $24,000 to Local Nonprofits

Posted in News Story

This year, fifteen graduate students at the McCourt School of Public Policy had the opportunity to become philanthropists and award $24,000 to local DC nonprofits under the guidance of Professors Kathy Kretman and Marlon Marshall during their Philanthropy, Power, and Politics course. The students went through the process of studying both foundations and nonprofits to understand ways in which philanthropists can impact systemic change, particularly with a racial equity lens. The students worked together in foundations to build their own missions, values, and selection criteria, giving them an opportunity to experience the power, privilege and responsibility of grant makers.

The students awarded $24,000 to the following DC community-based nonprofit organizations:

The students prioritized nonprofits that focus on equity and inclusion. “Our mission was to amplify organizations that seek to create a positive change in their community and enable them to achieve a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable resource for Washington, DC’s underrepresented population”, said Devan Praymous.

At the students’ Grant Awards Ceremony, Co-Instructor Marlon Marshall remarked, “It’s been awesome to see you all grow during this class and watch your brains work. All of you gave 100%, leaned in, and did everything you could to use this class to think about how philanthropy works and what racial equity lens you should have.”

Professor Kretman concluded, “I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, this class is one of the best teaching experiences of my career. To be able to give students the opportunity to explore their own values, test their own assumptions, and learn to make tough decisions in a group process, all during an unprecedented, uncertain time in your lives – it’s humbling, to say the least.” 

The grant awards were made possible through the generous support of the Learning by Giving Foundation and McCourt School of Public Policy.

The class was also the inspiration for a major Georgetown event, “Philanthropy and America’s Racial Reckoning,” featuring Georgetown University President John. J. DeGioia and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. Their conversation focused on the students’ question about the role that philanthropy “can and must play in disrupting the status quo, shifting power dynamics, centering those historically marginalized, and delivering racial and social justice.”

Watch the video of Philanthropy and America’s Racial Reckoning here.