Sunshine Lady Foundation Selects SUAPP Program for Student Grant-making: Organization Founded by Doris Buffett Chooses University of Memphis as Partner School in the Learning By Giving Program

U of M Joins National Network of Universities to Promote Philanthropy and Community Service Among Students

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University News Release: October 10, 2011
For press information, contact Leigh Hersey, 901-678-1754

The University of Memphis’ reputation as a leading “community engaged” university has again been recognized with selection of a School of Urban Affairs & Public Policy program as a partner school in the Learning by Giving Program.

Learning by Giving is a program started in 2003 by the Sunshine Lady Foundation, an organization founded by Doris Buffett in 1996.

The Learning by Giving program promotes the study of philanthropy at the undergraduate level to prepare, empower, and inspire young adults to become effective, knowledgeable, and skilled philanthropists and leaders in their communities.  It now has more than 20 member schools including Georgetown University, UNC Chapel Hill, and New York University.

The program will be launched at the University of Memphis with an initial grant of $10,000 from the Foundation.

Students enrolled in the University’s “Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations” course will distribute the funds to local nonprofit organizations through a competitive grant process.

The entire $10,000 Learning by Giving grant will be used for student grant-making.

Learning by Giving builds on the University’s existing Strengthening Communities Initiative, a collaborative of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy‘s Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the United Way of the Mid-South, and the U of M Research Foundation.

The Strengthening Communities Initiative pairs University faculty with community organizations to implement neighborhood-based projects which are funded through grant awards.


Leigh Hersey

Dr. Leigh Hersey, Public and Nonprofit Administration

“Our students will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing our community, and will then have the opportunity to become problem solvers,” said Leigh Hersey, Assistant Professor in the Division of Public & Nonprofit Administration and Director of Research for the Institute.

“Learning by Giving is a natural fit for the University of Memphis,” added Hersey. “Seventy-four percent of academic departments are involved in community-based learning and almost half of the student population takes part in such courses.”

The University of Memphis’ commitment to community service is reflected in its classification as “Community Engaged” by the Carnegie Foundation.

The U of M was one of only 62 colleges and universities in the nation to receive the designation – and one of only a few to receive the highest level of that designation  –  when the classification was established in 2006.


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