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Texas A&M philanthropy class distributes over $100k to local nonprofits

Posted at 11:17 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 00:17:30-04

BRYAN, Texas — A philanthropy class at Texas A&M University is giving students real life opportunities to impact the community. This spring, the class distributed over $100,000 to local non-profit organizations in the Brazos Valley.

Kyle Gammenthaler is the instructor for the strategic philanthropy class and said he wanted students to experience generosity in an educational environment.

“We have four sections of the class each year giving out generally around 75 to 100 thousand a year,” said Kyle Gammenthaler, Instructor at Texas A&M University. “In this past semester, we gave out 108 thousand 500 dollars which was the most we had ever given away in one semester.”

The strategic philanthropy class is held every spring and donors such as Aggieland Credit Union, the Philanthropy Lab, the George and Barbara Bush Foundation and other private donors provide the funds for the students.

“We have non profits from the Brazos Valley apply for grant funding just like they would to any other grant making entity and the students review the applications,” said Gammenthaler. “They learn about non-profit leadership, strategy, finances. They do site visits and interviews.”

Students then come back to class and decide which ten nonprofits will receive funding.

Gammenthaler says it’s the students choice on where every dollar goes.

“We decided to give to the Brazos Valley Food Bank, Health for All, the Sexual Assault Resource Center, Save our Streets Ministry, and the REACH Project,” said Jentri Cornelius, student at Texas A&M.

Cornelius was in her freshman year while taking the class and says it was the moment she presented a check to her favorite nonprofit that she became emotional.

“One of their student volunteers who was coming to accept the check on behalf of The Reach Project was actually one of my old fish camp counselors,” said Cornelius.

“How full circle that you would bring me into A&M and make me feels so welcome here and now that I’m plugged in, I’m able to give back to you and your organization. Not to be cliche, but it was a very Aggie moment and I loved it.”

At the end of spring next year, Gammenthaler says they’ll hit another milestone.

“We’ll have surpassed a million dollars going back to the non-profit community here,” said Gammenthaler. “It’s really a celebration. Every dollar is powerful.”

Students of the philanthropy class are invited to come back in two years to share their experience in the class and how their non-profits are going.