$443,000

granted

172

course participants

7

classes offered

Vanderbilt Grant Map

UniversityCourseStudents Enrolled
Vanderbilt UniversitySpring 2016Philanthropy & Social Problem SolvingDepartments: Human & Organizational DevelopmentDoug Perkins, Paul Speer20 students
Vanderbilt UniversitySpring 2017Philanthropy & Social Problem SolvingDepartments: Human & Organizational DevelopmentBeth Shinn29 students
Vanderbilt UniversitySpring 2018Philanthropy & Social Problem SolvingDepartments: Human & Organizational DevelopmentBeth Shinn24 students
Vanderbilt UniversityFall 2018Philanthropy & Social Problem SolvingDepartments: Human & Organizational DevelopmentBeth Shinn25 students
Vanderbilt UniversitySpring 2019Philanthropy & Social Problem SolvingDepartments: Human & Organizational DevelopmentBeth Shinn24 students
Vanderbilt UniversitySpring 2020Philanthropy & Social Problem SolvingDepartments: Human & Organizational DevelopmentBeth Shinn25 students
Vanderbilt UniversitySpring 2021Philanthropy & Social Problem SolvingDepartments: Human & Organizational DevelopmentBeth Shinn25 students

Philanthropy & Social Problem Solving
Taught by Beth Shinn
Department of Human & Organizational Development

Beth Shinn studies how to prevent and end homelessness and create opportunities for groups that face social exclusion. Her recent book, (Shinn, M., & Khadduri, J. (2020). In the midst of plenty: Homelessness and what to do about it. Wiley) draws on her own research and that of others to argue that we have the knowledge to end homelessness, if we devote the resources to doing so. A piece she wrote for The Conversation suggests that Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos’ philanthropic effort in this arena is not the best approach. Beth serves on the research advisory panely for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Nashville Homeless Planning Council, and the Board of Directors for the Partnership for the Homeless in New York City. Professor Shinn has received several awards for her teaching and research, including the Golden Dozen Teaching Award from New York University (2002), Ethnic/Minority Mentoring Award from the Society for Community Research and Action (1997), and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research from the Society for Community Research and Action (1996).

Needs Assessment

  • Students read local community needs assessments at beginning of semester
    • Metro Social Services Community Needs Evaluation
    • Davidson County Community Health Needs Assessment

Course pedagogy broken in 4 sections

  1. Problem Identification
  2. Approaches to Change
  3. Evaluating Organizational Approaches
  4. Decision-Making

Teams focus on interventions that address area of needs identified in community:

  • Students pitch a particular problem to their group and write a paper on the problem (“Problem Pitch”)
  • Students write a paper considering at least two alternative conceptual approaches to the problem their group selected to focus on (Alternative Approach paper)
  • Teams then draw on problems identified and conceptual approaches to identify a small pool of organizations in Nashville that fit the selected approach
  • Teams analyze these organizations and determine those likely to have the greatest impact

Students participate in at least one group visit to an organizational finalist

Weekly reading quizzes (in lieu of final exam)

Students prepare a briefing book

Media

Latest News

September 14, 2020

Vanderbilt class donates $60,000 to area nonprofits

September 14, 2020

Vanderbilt students cap off philanthropy class with $75,000 gift to local charities

September 14, 2020

Nashville charities benefit from Vanderbilt philanthropy class

Student Testimonials

My biggest takeaway from The Philanthropy Lab course was that so much of society and college teaches us a lot of great strategies for making money and getting jobs and maximizing our own potential, but doesn’t really teach us how to give back. The Ambassadors Conference has shown me that giving is a responsibility. There are always people in our communities and around the country and world whom we are responsible to help. My favorite parts of the conference were the guest speakers and all the people from many diverse institutions who were able to share with us a lot of their wisdom and experiences. My favorite part of the conference was the guest speakers and all the people who have been able to share with us a lot of their wisdom and experiences from many diverse institutions.

Evan NguyenVanderbilt University