Spring 2016
Sociology 306
Monday/Wednesday: 2:30pm – 4:20pm

Professor Ira Silver
Office: Crocker 109
Office Hours: Thursdays: 10-1 or by appointment
Phone: (508) 626-4864
E-mail: isilver@framingham.edu
Homepage: www.irasilver.org

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This unique course explores how charitable giving can significantly help people in need. Students are given the responsibility to decide how to allocate $10,000 to local nonprofit organizations working to expand access to opportunity for low-income communities. Considerable time is spent assessing specific organizations’ merits for funding. This includes evaluating grant proposals and doing site visits, where students meet staff and get a firsthand glimpse of how these organizations are working to accomplish their goals.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

This course will enable you to:

  • Discover how charity can benefit communities in need.
  • Understand how nonprofit organizations operate and recognize the important roles they play in our society.
  • Recognize the difference between philanthropy that aims to address significant problems and philanthropy that is actually making an impact in mitigating these problems.

The success of this course hinges on the productive exchange of ideas through discussions. This means it is crucial that you play an active role in these conversations.

READINGS:

There is one book to purchase, which you can buy from the university bookstore or at the link below:

Ira Silver, Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream. Createspace, 2013.

All other readings are linked below on the syllabus.

*Please bring assigned readings to class. For those that are online, either print them or access them electronically in class via your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

ATTENDANCE:

I understand sometimes there are justifiable reasons for missing a class, but if you miss more than two it will affect your grade. If you have to be absent, please let me know. There is no need to give me a doctor’s note. It is your responsibility to catch up on material you missed.

*On the dates indicated below, you MUST take part in site visits to organizations under consideration for funding. These trips will extend beyond our regular class time.

Monday, April 11th
Wednesday, April 13th
Wednesday, April 20th
Monday, April 25th

READING RESPONSES:

As a way of facilitating rich discussions, you are to post on Blackboard in advance of many of our class meetings. The dates when a reading response is due are listed on the schedule below.

Please post no later than 7am on the due date. I will only give credit for posts made on time. Unless otherwise specified, your posts should have two parts:

  1. A 2-3 paragraph critique of the reading. A critique is not a summary. Whereas a summary just goes over the main points in the reading, a critique goes beyond what the reading says and highlights interesting themes or issues it raised for you. There are a variety of ways you can frame your critique:
    — Something you found interesting and why.
    — Something you found confusing and why.
    — An important topic left unexplored.
    — Strengths/weaknesses of a study’s methodology.
    — How a concept or idea applies to your own life.
  2. Raise 2 or more questions for our class discussion. These should not be “yes/no” questions but instead “how” or “why” questions, since these generate more discussion.

GRADING:

Your final grade will be based on the following:

45%                     Reading responses
10%                     Pitches about potential grant applicants
20%                     Paper
25%                     Class attendance and participation

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Given the Sociology Department’s commitment to maintaining the highest academic standards, students should be aware of the University’s policies concerning academic honesty, which are stated in the undergraduate catalog: “Integrity is essential to academic life. Consequently, students who enroll at Framingham State University agree to maintain high standards of academic honesty and scholarly practice. They shall be responsible for familiarizing themselves with the published policies and procedures regarding academic honesty.” Infractions include plagiarism, cheating on exams and quizzes, unauthorized collaboration with other students, and submitting work in more than one course for academic credit without prior approval of the instructor. The FSU Catalog defines plagiarism as “claiming as one’s own work the published or unpublished literal or paraphrased work of another.” Penalties for academic dishonesty may include receiving a failing grade for the course, academic suspension, and dismissal from the University.

SCHEDULE

Wednesday, January 20th

Course Overview

Monday, January 25th

*READ: Claire Gaudiani, “Philanthropy: Investing in America’s Freedom and Progress.” USA Today, July 2005.

*READ: Eduardo Porter, “Charity’s Role in America, and Its Limits.” New York Times, November 13, 2012.

*READING RESPONSE #1 DUE

Wednesday, January 27th

*READ: Scott Slovic and Paul Slovic, “The Arithmetic of Compassion.” New York Times, December 4, 2015.

*READ: Jamil Zaki, “The Feel-Good School of Philanthropy.” New York Times, December 5, 2015.

*READING RESPONSE #2 DUE

*SHOWN IN CLASS:

Monday, February 1st

*READ: Jay MacLeod, “Social Immobility in the Land of Opportunity.” Pp. 3-10 in Ain’t No Makin’ It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2009.

*READ: Claire Cain Miller, “Class Differences in Child-Rearing Are On the Rise.” New York Times, December 17, 2015.

*READING RESPONSE #3 DUE

Wednesday, February 3rd

*READ: Ira Silver, Chapters 1-3 in Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream. This is the book required for purchase.

*READ: Peter Buffett, “The Charitable-Industrial Complex.” New York Times, July 26, 2013.

*READING RESPONSE #4 DUE

Monday, February 8th

*READ: Ira Silver, Chapter 4 in Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream.

*READING RESPONSE #5 DUE

*DUE BY 11PM VIA EMAIL – List of 4 nonprofits you are interested in researching for your presentations.

Wednesday, February 10th

*READ: Ira Silver, Chapters 5 in Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream. This is the book required for purchase.

*READING RESPONSE #6 DUE

Monday, February 15th

*NO CLASS – Presidents’ Day

Wednesday, February 17th

*NO READING! Discussion of ways the class can give beyond the Learning by Giving funds.

Monday, February 22nd

*READ: Ira Silver, Chapters 6-7 in Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream. This is the book required for purchase.

*READING RESPONSE #7 DUE

Wednesday, February 24th

*COME PREPARED TO GIVE EITHER OF YOUR PITCHES. Here is the list of the two organizations each person is researching.

Monday, February 29th

*We will continue with our pitches about potential grant applicants.

Wednesday, March 2nd

*DO: Come up with two questions you think should be on the RFP.

*We will finish pitches about potential grant applicants, narrow our invitation list, and begin creating the RFP.

Monday, March 7th

*NO READING! We will finalize our invitation list, finish the RFP, and discuss crucial next steps.

*BY NOON ON TUESDAY, MARCH 8TH: Send an email to the organization you’ve been assigned from the list of nonprofits we’re inviting to apply for funds. In the text box, paste the letter of invitation and attach the RFP. Grant applications are due by 5pm on Tuesday March 22nd.

Wednesday, March 9th

*READ: Sample grant applications from past years
– Just a Start
– All Dorchester Sports League
– Families First

*WRITE: What did you find to be strong or not so strong in each application? (3-4 sentences per proposal)

IN CLASS – We will play a ”Giving Game” and donate $250!

*** SPRING BREAK ***

Monday, March 21st

*READ: Learn about the Middlesex Savings Bank Charitable Foundation. Pay close attention to the specific programs it funds.

*WRITE: Come up with 2 questions to ask Dana Neshe.

*GUEST SPEAKER: Dana Neshe – President, Middlesex Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, FSU alumna and member of the FSU Board of Trustees.

Wednesday, March 23rd

Grant evaluation, Part 1

*READING RESPONSE #8 DUE – Evaluate the 1st batch of applications. Write 1-2 paragraphs per organization. Discuss in detail what you find strong or not so strong in each application relative to our RFP.

Home for Little Wanderers
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Rosie’s Place
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Life Saver Ministries
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Silver Lining Mentoring
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Monday, March 28th

Grant evaluation, Part 2

*READING RESPONSE #9 DUE – Evaluate the 2nd batch of applications. Write 1-2 paragraphs per organization. Discuss in detail what you find strong or not so strong in each application relative to our RFP.

Worcester Youth Center
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Citizen Schools
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget (organization)
– Budget (project)

Project Bread
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Bridge over Troubled Waters
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Wednesday, March 30th

Grant evaluation, Part 3

*READING RESPONSE #10 DUE – Evaluate the 3rd batch of applications. Write 1-2 paragraphs per organization. Discuss in detail what you find strong or not so strong in each application relative to our RFP.

Big Brother, Big Sister
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Project Hope
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget (organization)
– Budget (project)

Bethany Hill Place
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Beacon Academy
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Monday, April 4th

Grant evaluation, Part 4

*READING RESPONSE #11 DUE – Evaluate the 4th batch of applications. Write 1-2 paragraphs per organization. Discuss in detail what you find strong or not so strong in each application relative to our RFP.

School on Wheels
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

College Bound
– Cover letter
– Proposal & Attachments

Jeff’s Place
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Horizons for Homeless Children
– Cover letter
– Proposal
– Budget

Wednesday, April 6th

*By 10am, email me your ranking (with 1 being the highest) of the nonprofits still under consideration for funding.

*WATCH IN CLASS“Nonprofit Site Visits”

*GUEST SPEAKERS: Students from former Nonprofit Giving classes

Monday, April 11th

Site visit 1

*READING RESPONSE #12 DUE – Come up with 3 or more questions for this site visit. Rather than simply listing the questions, contextualize them with specifics from the grant proposals.

Wednesday, April 13th

Site visit 2

*READING RESPONSE #13 DUE – Come up with 3 or more questions for this site visit. Rather than simply listing the questions, contextualize them with specifics from the grant proposals.

Monday, April 18th

NO CLASS – Patriots’ Day

Wednesday, April 20th

Site visit 3

*READING RESPONSE #14 DUE – Come up with 3 or more questions for this site visit. Rather than simply listing the questions, contextualize them with specifics from the grant proposals.

Monday, April 25th

Site visit 4

*READING RESPONSE #15 DUE – Come up with 3 or more questions for this site visit. Rather than simply listing the questions, contextualize them with specifics from the grant proposals.

Wednesday, April 27th

*GUEST SPEAKERS: Panel of FSU alums who have worked in nonprofits.

Monday, May 2nd

Discuss site visits and MAKE GRANT DECISION!

Wednesday, May 4th

Course wrap-up

Tuesday, May 10th

9am – Grant ceremony at Framingham State Alumni House, 42 Adams Road.

Friday, May 13th

*PAPER DUE: If you alone were deciding which of the nonprofits we site visited should get the full $10,000, where would you give the money and why? (8-10 pages)