Spring 2018
Sociology 306
Monday/Wednesday: 2:30pm – 4:20pm

Office: O’Connor 336
Office Hours: Mon/Wed 10:30 – 12:30 or by appointment
Phone: (508) 626-4864
E-mail: isilver@framingham.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course explores how charitable giving can significantly help people in need. Students decide how to allocate funds to local nonprofit organizations working to expand access to opportunity for low-income communities. They assess specific organizations’ merits for funding by evaluating grant proposals and doing site visits, where students get a firsthand glimpse of how these organizations are working to accomplish their goals. Students also do fundraising to expand their capacity to help people in need.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

This course will familiarize you with the extensive roles nonprofit organizations play in addressing social problems in American society and the significance of charitable giving in fulfilling those roles.

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.

READING RESPONSES:

As a way of facilitating rich discussions, you are to post on Blackboard in advance of most classes. 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 not give full credit for late posts, and will give no credit for posts made after 12pm. Your write-up should have two parts:

  1. A 2-3 paragraph critique of the reading, which differs from a summary. Whereas a summary highlights main points in the reading, a critique takes the discussion in a direction of your choosing. It explores themes or issues the reading raised for you. There are several 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.

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 9th
Wednesday, April 11th
Wednesday, April 18th

GRADING:

Your final grade will be based on the following:

60%                     Reading responses
20%                     Oral presentations about potential grant applicants
10%                     Class attendance and participation
10%                     Grant ceremony 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 17th

Snow day

Monday, January 22nd

Course Overview

Wednesday, January 24th

*GUEST SPEAKER – Kyrah Altman – President, LEAD (Let’s Empower, Advocate, and Do)

*READ: LEAD Website

*WATCH: “It Takes a Village” interview with Kyrah Altman

*READING RESPONSE #1 DUE – What do you find significant about the story of how LEAD was created? What do you find important about its work? Be specific. List two or more questions you’d like to ask Kyrah Altman.

Monday, January 29th

*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 #2 DUE – Critique

Wednesday, January 31st

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

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

*READING RESPONSE #3 DUE – Critique

Monday, February 5th

*READ: Ira Silver, Chapters 4 and 5 in Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream.

*READING RESPONSE #4 DUE – Critique

*DISCUSS IN CLASS: Research Presentations about Potential Grant Applicants

Wednesday, February 7th

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

*READING RESPONSE #5 DUE – Critique

Monday, February 12th

***Field trip to Bethany Hill Place, 89 Bethany Road, Framingham

*READ: Bethany Hill Place Website

*READING RESPONSE #6 DUE – What do you find significant about the work Bethany Hill Place does? Be specific. List two or more questions you’d like to ask during our site visit.

*EMAIL TO PROF. SILVER – List of 4 nonprofits you are interested in researching for your oral presentations.

Wednesday, February 14th

*READ: Sample grant applications from past years
Bethany Hill Place
– School on Wheels
– Bridge over Troubled Waters

*READING RESPONSE #7 DUE – What did you find to be strong or not so strong in each grant application? Be specific. (3-4 sentences per proposal)

*We will begin to formulate our RFP (Request for Proposals).

Monday, February 19th

*NO CLASS – Presidents’ Day

Wednesday, February 21st

*Come prepared to give either of your presentations about potential grant applicants based on this list.

Monday, February 26th

*We will continue with the oral presentations.

Wednesday, February 28th

*We will finish the oral presentations, narrow our invitation list, and continue to formulate our RFP.

*READING RESPONSE #8 DUE – Come up with two questions you think should be on the RFP.

Monday, March 5th

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

Tuesday, March 6th

*BY NOON – Send an email to the organization you’ve been assigned from the list of nonprofits we’re inviting to apply for funds (with cc to me). In the text box, paste the letter of invitation and attach the RFP. Grant applications are due by 5pm on Tuesday March 20th.

Wednesday, March 7th

*GUEST SPEAKERS:
– Amy Kingman and Shanna O’Berry – Learning by Giving Foundation
– Cheryl Opper – Founder and Executive Director, School on Wheels

*READ: Learning by Giving Foundation Website

*READ: “Jody Bennenson, David Campbell, and Lindsey McDougal, “Learning by Giving: How Today’s Students Can Become Tomorrow’s Philanthropists.” The Conversation, November 26, 2017.

*READ: School on Wheels Website

*READING RESPONSE #9 DUE
– What has been the cumulative impact of experiential philanthropy courses? List two or more questions you’d like to ask our guests from the Learning by Giving Foundation.
– What do you find important about School on Wheels’ work? Be specific. List two or more questions you’d like to ask Cheryl Opper.

*** SPRING BREAK ***

Monday, March 19th

*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 #10 DUE – Critique

*WATCH IN CLASS:

Wednesday, March 21st

Grant evaluation, Part 1

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

Monday, March 26th

Grant evaluation, Part 2

*READING RESPONSE #12 DUE – Write 1-2 paragraphs per organization. Discuss in detail what you find strong or not so strong in each application relative to our RFP.

Wednesday, March 28th

Grant evaluation, Part 3

*READING RESPONSE #13 DUE – Write 1-2 paragraphs per organization. Discuss in detail what you find strong or not so strong in each application relative to our RFP.

Monday, April 2nd

Grant evaluation, Part 4

*READING RESPONSE #14 DUE – Write 1-2 paragraphs per organization. Discuss in detail what you find strong or not so strong in each application relative to our RFP.

Wednesday, April 4th

*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 9th

Site visit 1

*READING RESPONSE #15 DUE – Come up with 3 or more questions for this site visit. Don’t just list your questions; contextualize them with specifics from the grant proposals.

Wednesday, April 11th

Site visit 2

*READING RESPONSE #16 DUE – Come up with 3 or more questions for this site visit. Don’t just list your questions; contextualize them with specifics from the grant proposals.

Monday, April 16th

NO CLASS – Patriots’ Day

Wednesday, April 18th

Site visit 3

*READING RESPONSE #17 DUE – Come up with 3 or more questions for this site visit. Don’t just list your questions; contextualize them with specifics from the grant proposals.

Monday, April 23rd

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

Wednesday, April 25th

Discuss site visits and MAKE GRANT DECISION!

*READING RESPONSE #18 DUE – Write 6 paragraphs (2 for each of the organizations we site visited). One paragraph should discuss the organization’s merits for funding, while the others should discuss your reservations about funding that organization.

Monday, April 30th

Discuss grants ceremony

Wednesday, May 2nd

Course wrap-up

Thursday, May 10th

11;30am – Grant ceremony: Alumni Room (Room 309), McCarthy Center