Students in the College of Human Sciences Grantmaking for Philanthropists class finished off their semester of hard work by presenting a $3,000 check to the Domestic Violence Intervention Center (DVIC) to help the organization’s ongoing fight to eliminate violence in the lives of men, women and children in the five-county area the DVIC serves.
The grantmaking course, which is offered by the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences, is led by Assistant Professor of Philanthropy and Nonprofits studies Dr. Peter Weber who helps students understand the inner workings of non-profits, grant proposal writing, how to read proposal packages, the importance of collaboration while working in a group setting and more.
Weber and the seven students making up the CADS 3780 class presented the check to DVIC Executive Director Zenene Humphrey after reviewing a total of 17 grant proposals throughout the semester.
Weber said what makes the class so valuable for students is they learn and acquire a number of different skills throughout the semester.
“It’s just the complete skills that they get. It’s a way for them to learn how to write grant proposals and develop best practices in grantmaking, they learn various aspects of how a foundation works, they also learn how to work in groups and different soft skills,” Weber said. “They start at the beginning of the semester with seven students and each one of them has their own interests in mind. They learn to compromise and that they have to learn how to negotiate and compromise and work in a group to achieve the goals they set for themselves. They also learn how to make an argument and justify their decisions. It’s a unique combination of both hard and soft skills that are essential to be a successful non-profit professional.”
Based in Lee County, the Domestic Violence Intervention Center was incorporated in 1980 to serve victims of domestic violence in the counties of Chambers, Lee, Macon, Randolph and Tallapoosa. The main goal of the DVIC is to ensure that survivors who are in imminent danger have a safe place to go where they can receive services or shelter.
“We never know what we’re going to walk into on the other side of that call but our job is to just be ready and prepared and so that’s where our funding comes in,” Humphrey said. “To be able to apply for funding and maintain funding coming in to make sure that when survivors are calling, we don’t have to say ‘Unfortunately, we don’t have a bed or a shelter right now.’ Day by day, we’re always looking at opportunities to bring in more funding.”
To learn more about the 17 organizations applying for the grant, students conducted interviews, read through each grant proposal package, took site visits and then started the difficult process of narrowing down the finalists to receive the funding.
“It’s very different from any class I’ve ever taken at Auburn in a very good way,” junior in philanthropy studies Claire Pate said. “By the end of the course, essentially we were able to show the rest of the class how awesome the DVIC was and how necessary this program was. When we did get to do our pros and cons list it got to the point where we just looked at each other and we were like wow we have this whole list of pros for the DVIC and it was clear.”
In addition to emergency shelter, the DVIC offers services including a 24-hour crisis hotline, case management, child advocacy, legal advocacy, attorney services, clothing closet, food pantry, support groups, counseling and more. After receiving the $3,000 grant, Humphrey said the main use of the money will be allocated to improving outreach.
“With the funding we are receiving we’re looking more at outreach,” Humphrey said. “A huge part of what we do is awareness because if the survivors are not aware that we even exist or what services we provide then they won’t know who to call. What we plan to do with the funding is to be able to create more and more literature.”
In only its second year of existence, the CADS 3780 course has awarded $5,000 in grant money to local non-profit agencies.
For more information on philanthropy and non-profit studies within the College of Human Sciences, visit humsci.auburn.edu/cads/philanthropy.php..