‘Common Good’ Students Present Grants to Local Nonprofits

This year’s Common Good Grant Program participants, with Tom Ancona (far left)

After spending the school year reading grant applications, visiting local nonprofits, and fundraising within the community, students who participated in the Common Good Grant Program selected eight Brunswick area nonprofits to receive funding.

Last week, students, donors, and recipients met during a reception hosted by the McKeen Center for the Common Good to celebrate the grant-allocation process and to enjoy Bowdoin logs.

The Common Good Grant Program began in 2001, when an anonymous donor began contributing $10,000 to Bowdoin annually for students to distribute to local agencies who are searching for funding to jumpstart new initiatives and to support existing programs. According to the McKeen Center’s website, the Common Good Grant Program acts “much like a community foundation.” It allows students to learn about grants, foundations, and philanthropy while gaining knowledge about the local nonprofit landscape. Over the past 18 years, the Common Good Grant Program has funded 146 grants, adding up to over $250,000.

Common Good Grant student co-leaders Audrey Leland ’18 and Gaby Papper ’18 announced that this year, the program’s development committee more than doubled the yearly base of $10,000, garnering $21,500 to give to local groups. While the development committee was at work raising these funds, the grant committee read 45 letters of intent from organizations, then considered 20 applications, went on 12 site visits, and ultimately awarded eight grants. The groups met every week since September, and made their decisions with the guidance of McKeen Center Associate Director Tom Ancona, McKeen Center Director Sarah Seames, and Leadership Gifts Officer Susie Dorn.

This year’s Common Good Grant recipients include organizations that grow fresh vegetables for food pantries, to advocacy groups for survivors of sexual assault. Awards went to Growing to Give, Healthy Androscoggin, Independence Association, Preble Street, Sexual Assault Services of Midcoast Maine, Through These Doors, Trust For Our Future, and United Way. Funds will be used for a variety of purposes, from developing culturally competent materials to supporting risk-assessment counseling sessions at Mt. Ararat High School.

Students involved in the Common Good Grant Program awarded grants to their recipients by hand. All emphasized how impressed they were with the work of the organizations selected and the important educational aspect of the decision-making process. The night highlighted a robust connection between the campus community and that of Midcoast Maine.

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