Georgetown University Graduate Class Awards $25,000 to Local Nonprofits

Posted in News Story

By Annie Katz (MPP 2024)

On April 26, 2023, fifteen graduate students at the McCourt School of Public Policy stepped into the roles of foundation Board Trustees and awarded $25,000 to local D.C.-based nonprofits working to advance racial, economic and social justice in Professor Kathy Kretman’s Philanthropy, Power and Politics course. Over the semester, students examined their values and tested their assumptions about the responsibilities that come with wealth and power in the United States. The class underwent the process of studying both foundations and nonprofits to understand ways in which philanthropists can impact systemic change, particularly through a racial equity lens. Working together in foundations to develop their own missions, values, and selection criteria, students had the opportunity to experience the power, privilege and responsibility of being grantmakers.

The students awarded $25,000 to the following D.C. community-based nonprofit organizations:

In their grantmaking, the students prioritized nonprofits that focus on advancing equity, particularly for underserved communities. “My experience in this class with philanthropy connected me to a world I otherwise would have never reached,” said Courtney Hahm, a second year Master of Public Policy student. “I learned that empathy lays the foundation for giving, and empathy is built on sharing the stories of others.”

In his prepared remarks, Executive Director of the MacArthur Justice Center, Amir Ali, emphasized the significance of the funding and its potential impact. “Georgetown’s donation will translate into elevating the voice of someone out there who has had their rights violated, and whose story might otherwise not be heard,” he wrote. “Those are the sorts of things you cannot put a price on, yet Georgetown’s support is absolutely essential to make happen.”

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.”