University of Wisconsin-Madison

80 Bridges Built by the UW StartUp Learning Community

After the resounding success of our first Hands On! Philanthropy workshop, we were delighted to be invited back to facilitate the program for a second year for UW's StartUp Learning Community.  The StartUp Learning Community at UW-Madison is comprised of around 60 freshman who live together on one floor of a dormitory based on their shared interest in entrepreneurship. These students live together and study together, creating bonds that often last well beyond their years at the university. During each semester there is a class offered exclusively for the StartUp Learning Community students. The spring class, MHR-321, is Social Entrepreneurship, introducing students to the key concepts of starting and running a socially-engaged business and exploring how entrepreneurial approaches can serve to increase effectiveness in the nonprofit sector.   We had a slightly more intimate group this year, but there was certainly no drop in the level of enthusiasm.

In our second year, we collaborated again with Professor John Surdyk and Sari Judge.  John teaches the MHR-321 class and acts as the UW School of Business advisor to the StartUp students.   Sari is the StartUp Learning Community Program Coordinator and is one of the main driving forces behind the students' StartUp experience.  With input from John and Sari, we continued to enhance the workshop and refine it to meet the needs of the students.  

During the workshop, the students explored key concepts around strategic philanthropy, learned about the power of purposeful philanthropy, and refined key personal and professional skills like communication, collaboration, decision making, storytelling, and the sharing of values. They were challenged to understand and articulate what social causes really matter to them and why. And in the end, they sought out nonprofits that shared their vision and presented Dream Big Community Impact Awards to the nonprofit partners they selected.

Congrats are in order for the Dream Big Community Impact Award recipients:

These worthy organizations received a significant grant and were all participants in the final celebratory session on May 1, 2019.

Hats off again to the students, Professor John Surdyk, Sari Judge, and the terrific nonprofits who participated in the workshop. We look forward to another engaging program next spring!

Bridges Built:  7 Participants x (6 Colleagues + 2 Nonprofits + 1 Sponsor) = 63