GRANVILLE, Ohio—The Denison University Venture Philanthropy Club (VPC) was a finalist for the 2012 Sillerman Prize for Innovations in Philanthropy on College Campuses. Peter Hurford ’14, from Cincinnati, and Emma Bosley-Smith ’15, from Maumee, Ohio, traveled to Brandeis University to compete for the $5,000 prize. They represented VPC in the contest, an award that identifies innovative strategies for advancing philanthropy on university campuses.
This spring, the finalists presented to a panel of eleven judges composed of scholars and professionals from the philanthropy field. The VPC suggested that its model addressed the overarching challenge posed to applicants: what programs, courses of study, or activities should be developed to engage students directly in philanthropic knowledge and behavior, ultimately leading to a new generation of philanthropists? The question and answer period after Hurford and Bosley-Smith’s presentation involved inquiries about the VPC’s leadership structure, peer-to-peer education style and fundraising strategies.
Though the VPC did not win the Sillerman Prize, it placed in the top four of twenty submissions from around the country, including graduate schools and the experience was valuable to Hurford and Bosley-Smith. “This process helped me verify the impact that the VPC is having, both on the community and me,” said Hurford.
Since its inception in 2008, through a donation of David Kuhns, a member of the Denison class of 1968, the VPC makes an annual grant of funds to a local organization in order to effect “positive and meaningful change in the lives of others.” The VPC also pledges approximately 200 student service hours to assist the organization with its project. The VPC will send out a request for proposals to the Licking County community in the coming weeks soliciting submissions for a community development grant worth $10,000 and 200 hours.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.