Business students at West Virginia University plan to improve the quality of life for youth in the greater Morgantown community and affect social change by applying their business knowledge as “corporate philanthropists.”
The students will effectively allocate their resources through the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Board of Directors, which will award grants for non-profit organizations.
As part of that educational process, College of Business and Economics students in the 2018 CSR course are seeking grant applications from nonprofit organizations designed to help youths in counties near WVU. The Corporate Citizenship Project will allot special consideration to proposals focusing on homelessness among young people, youths with disabilities, youths impacted by drug addiction and caregiver support.
“This course initiative is very much student-driven,” said Erika Orlikoff, CSR class president and first year MSIR-MBA student from Morgantown. “When we began to develop our corporate social responsibility mission statement, it was clear to see that all of our passions aligned with the focus of giving back to youth in the Morgantown area. As students at WVU, we are engrained in this community, so it is quite rewarding for our group to contribute to local organizations or programs that can make a meaningful difference in the lives of children.”
Once the request for proposal phase is complete, the student board will evaluate the proposals for projects, as well as the track record of the requesting organization and the impact a grant would have. The final days of the course in April will see students choose the grant recipients, guided by their mission statement. Multiple awards are given each year ranging from $300 to $3,000. The student board will distribute the awards at a ceremony on April 17 at 4 p.m. in Elizabeth Moore Hall on the WVU Downtown Campus.
The CSR course, along with the Corporate Citizenship Project, is now in its 18th year and is led by Suzanne Gosden Kitchen, assistant chair of the Department of Management. In addition to this project, students must also perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service.
“The CSR course is an engaging class that the Management Department looks forward to each year. It is a wonderful, experiential education opportunity that helps to lay the foundation for our business students to have successful careers, but also teach them the importance of giving back through corporate philanthropy and volunteer work,” Kitchen said. “Overall, it is a great experience for the students, but it is also very gratifying for the College to be able to facilitate these partnerships with organizations in the community.”
Bob Reitman, a 1955 B&E alumnus, proposed the idea of the class and initially funded the project to teach future business leaders the value of contributing to society and the community. Last year, the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings, made a gift of $20,000 to the Corporate Citizenship Project. David Cale, teaching assistant professor of management, is also an integral supporter of the course.
Each year, as part of the class, students also make a trip to Cleveland to meet Reitman, and hear from community philanthropists and fundraisers.
Proposals for organizations in Monongalia and Preston counties will be accepted through Feb. 26. Submit a proposal for a grant.
Questions should be directed to the 2018 CSR Board of Directors via email at BECSR@mail.wvu.edu.
Dowler, WVU College of Business and Economics