Funding Philanthropy: UM, Missoula Communities Invited to Global Leadership Initiative Awards Ceremony

December 13, 2018

By Global Leadership Initiative Student Leah Lynch

Students in this semester’s Can Giving Change the World? class gather for a photo outside UM’s Main Hall.  MISSOULA – All members of the community are invited to help University of Montana Franke Global Leadership Initiative students celebrate four local nonprofits with a special awards ceremony from 9 to 9:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in the Davidson Honors College student lounge.

During the ceremony, students from a first-year course – Can Giving Change the World? – will present the organizations with a total of $13,000 in grant money from the Learning by Giving Foundation and the College of Humanities and Sciences. UM is one of a handful of select universities that receives annual funding from the foundation.

Throughout the semester, the GLI students have learned about the history and inner workings of philanthropy, specifically the worldwide effects of nonprofit organizations. The hands-on approach began when students were assigned to engage in a communitywide needs assessment, which involved researching topics and issues revolving around the environment, homelessness, hunger, youth and health to determine which needs were not being met in Missoula.

After presenting these assessments to fellow peers, the class decided which needs were the greatest and requested project proposals from nonprofits in Missoula and the surrounding area.

The students decided that the two greatest needs in the community were mental health, with a focus in suicide prevention, and healthy lifestyle, with a focus on active, hands-on learning.

After receiving 14 proposals, conducting site visits and spending several sessions locked in passionate deliberation, the GLI students selected four proposals to receive funding: The Learning Center at Red Willow, Mountain Home Montana, Missoula Aging Services and Soft Landing Missoula. Students said these organizations embody the ideals of philanthropy, and each offers a unique service that will positively impact and empower the community.

Part of the money awarded by Living by Giving was because the students won a blog contest. Katjana Stutzer, graduate instructor in the Department of Communication Studies, coordinated the class’ participation. To read the GLI student blog on the philanthropy class, visit


Contact: Gregory Larson, professor and chair, UM Department of Communication Studies, College of Humanities and Sciences, 406-243-4161,