Bill Gates Tweets about SESP Philanthropy Class

Bill Gates Tweets about SESP Philanthropy Class

Bill Gates, who has become an advocate for philanthropy after making his fortune with Microsoft, tweeted about the School of Education and Social Policy philanthropy class recently:

Students in the Learning Philanthropy course at Northwestern University put their learning into action in a distinctive new way. The students not only examine the history and practice of philanthropic giving but also actually give away $50,000 to nonprofit organizations that can impact children and adults. 

Learning Philanthropy: Engaging in the Study and Practice of Giving is taught by SESP dean Penelope Peterson and Lauren Young, director emerita of the Spencer Foundation. Students learn about the role of philanthropy in the United States, including its history, social and cultural meanings, motivations and effects. They also explore their own concepts and values about philanthropic purposes and outcomes.

“The course approaches philanthropy from many angles, especially from the point of view of giving to improve the lives of children and adults,” notes Peterson. “Northwestern students are leaders of the future, who likely will be making important decisions about charitable giving, and many may even be considering a career in nonprofits.”

To apply what they learn in the course, students decide how and why to donate a sum of money to nonprofit organizations. The students in groups dedicated to education, youth development, eradicating poverty, and health and wellness investigate nonprofits in these areas through site visits and research. In the process, they confront the policies, politics and practices that influence giving decisions.

This laboratory component of the course is made possible by the Once Upon a Time Foundation of Fort Worth, Texas. To enhance students’ understanding of and commitment to philanthropy, the foundation entrusted the class with a sum of $50,000. Once Upon a Time maintains that courses in philanthropy are beneficial for young people to understand the importance and process of charitable giving, as well as the challenges of making choices among worthwhile organizations.

The Learning Philanthropy class also became the subject of media attention through a recent New York Times feature.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 6/18/14