A Class in Philanthropy

UCLA finished a first, its first class in philanthropy where several students were charged to give away $100,000. It was an opportunity for them to study the non-profit sector in the Los Angeles area, and decide how to spend this money. They were to make grants for no less than $10,000 and no more than $50,00, all donated by the Texas based Once Upon a Time Foundation which has sponsored similar classes at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas. The goal was to better understand the nature of philanthropy and how it can be relevant in a complex urban environment with varying needs. On the one hand a class in philanthropy seems sad. Contributing should come from the heart and help us help others perhaps supporting causes which are related to our interests. On the other such a class institutionalizes giving, and makes it a thoughtful exercise. It doesn’t interfere with giving from the heart nor with supporting the causes one believes in. Anything that makes us include the needs of others and try to answer them is not only important, it is also necessary, and maybe such a class will become part of standard curriculum in all universities.