Monthly Archives: October 2012

Twenty successful nonprofits started by students

It was great to hear earlier this week from Sophia Coppolla, a content manager for, who shared with me an article on nonprofit organizations started by college students around the U.S.  After I wrote about college student Brittaney Khong and her work with the UCSD Student Foundation recently, I really enjoyed learning about some other examples of highly motivated and entrepreneurial students working to make the world a better place by helping others less fortunate than themselves, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Below is the story Sophia shared, which can be found in its original form at

An Organized Mess - Nazareth College, Rochester, NY

An Organized Mess – Nazareth College, Rochester, NY
A group of Nazareth students organized craft and classroom supplies to help RCSD School 41 prepare for their first day.

Colleges have always been hotbeds of idealism, where gifted minds, too young to be jaded, dream of better futures they want to bring into being. At the same time, one of our culture’s most widely promoted values has been the entrepreneurial spirit, especially in recent years. In the private sector, spinoffs of research done at institutions like MIT and Stanford have shaped our modern economy, taking companies like Google and Facebook from dorm rooms to the NASDAQ. Many business schools have recently made a significant shift in emphasis from molding middle management to acting as incubators for start-ups. So it’s no surprise that innovative ventures are actively being created, fostered, and rewarded in the nonprofit zone as well. Here are 20 amazing philanthropic organizations that began as student projects and are now going on to change their communities and the planet: Continue reading

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How to build the perfect philanthropy

Five simple thoughts – with examples – in clear, concise language in this piece…a great primer for anyone working in the nonprofit world.


What’s in a personal donation? Everything, if you’re one of the millions of people who depend on philanthropies to assist with anything from college to housing to healthcare. In fact, of the $300 billion donated to U.S. charities every year, more than 80% comes from individual contributions, says Valerie Lies, president and CEO of Donors Forum, which helps strengthen Illinois nonprofits.

But how can donors and philanthropies ensure everyone is getting the most do-gooder bang for their buck? That’s the question some of the smartest minds in philanthropy—including CrowdRise‘s Edward Norton, United Airlines Foundation’s Sonya Jackson, and LIFT’s Kristen Lodal—tackled at Chicago Ideas Week on Tuesday afternoon, as part of the “Giving: One Matters” talk. Here’s some of the best of what they shared.

1. Follow a clear mission.
“One of the worst things I hear from organizations is, what do you want us to be?” says…

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