Sacred Heart University’s Center for Nonprofits has received a $10,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for the 2019-2020 academic year. The center—part of the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology—arranges for students to assist not-for profit organizations (NFPs) with business challenges. These alliances help organizations continue their missions, while students gain real-world experience through the problems-based learning projects.
The grant is part of Bank of America’s efforts to help build thriving communities by addressing issues fundamental to economic health and sustainability. The bank gave more than $200 million in 2018 to address pressing needs and to help advance communities’ economic mobility. A spokesperson said it plans to invest $2 billion over the next 10 years.
In the local community, NFPs have a persistent need for expertise in marketing, strategic planning, business analysis and financial management, among other areas. With the help of a faculty committee, SHU graduate and undergraduate students bring their domain-specific knowledge and skills to these unique challenges, supporting the NFPs’ long-term viability and effectiveness.
Over the past 16 years, the center has completed 245 projects for 122 unique clients, with nearly 40 of these clients returning for multiple projects. More than 850 students have participated in such projects under the supervision of faculty and advisors, providing 58,500 consulting hours to area charitable organizations.
For example, the Barnum Festival—in its 70th year—was facing declining attendance and interest. The University’s MBA team analyzed the demographic and societal changes affecting the festival and worked out ways to increase youth and community engagement. Building on the first team’s work, a second MBA team developed a marketing strategy that best suited the festival’s promotional budget, with the objective of revitalizing this local institution. As a testament to the value of these projects, the festival hired a SHU MBA student with social media expertise.
These problems-based learning projects are part of an ongoing partnership between the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology and Bank of America:
“Bank of America is proud to partner with the Welch College of Business & Technology in helping develop and grow local not-for-profit organizations, which are essential to the economic vitality of our local community,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America. “It is a win-win for all. This also provides the students with an opportunity to use their skill sets and expertise while serving the greater needs of the NFP community.”
“The Center for Nonprofits at SHU appreciates the ongoing support of Bank of America to further the learning experiences of our graduate students and to strengthen area nonprofits,” said Bill Hass, director of the Center for Nonprofits.
For more information on the Center for Nonprofits, visit https://www.sacredheart.edu/academics/jackwelchcollegeofbusiness/centerfornonprofits/