Since 2001, an anonymous alumni donor has contributed $10,000 annually for Bowdoin students to allocate to local agencies looking for funding to start new initiatives and maintain existing programs. Acting much like a community foundation, students that are a part of the program solicit donations to augment the grant base and evaluate grant proposals to determine which local non-profits will receive the Common Good Grants each spring. The purpose of the program is to provide students the opportunity to learn about grants, foundations, and philanthropy while becoming familiar with local non-profit organizations.
Participating in the Common Good Grant program is a rewarding and educational experience for the members of both the grant and development committees, as they are able to take part in the philanthropic process from beginning to end. Not only designed to strengthen the bonds between Bowdoin College and the greater Brunswick community by honoring local non-profits, the program also empowers students by helping them to make a difference in their community through an educational experience.
Each fall, twelve students are selected to be on this committee. Meeting weekly, the students determine the year's criteria for grant recipients, design and publicize the application, and send it out to interested organizations in mid-December. Before applications are submitted in mid-February, students participate in a grant writing workshop and conduct site visits to past recipients. In the spring, the committee reviews submitted proposals and selects the grant recipients, who are presented with checks at the Common Good Grant Awards Ceremony in April.
Started in 2004, this committee works to raise funds to add to the $10,000 yearly grant base. Serving on the Development Committee provides a unique opportunity for eight students to participate in a strategic fundraising initiative to benefit local non-profits. Not only do participants work to raise additional funds for the existing grant base, they also increase their understanding of non-profit organizations and gain key fundraising skills in the process. Meeting weekly, the group develops a case to solicit donations. In pairs, students meet with potential donors in the spring. All funds raised are then added to the Common Good Grant fund, expanding the number of community projects supported.
Since 2001, the annual grant committees have awarded local agencies with grants of up to $2500 to maintain existing programs and to fund new initiatives. Some projects have included:
For more information on the Common Good Grant program please contact Caitlin Callahan.