About Learning By Giving

Learning by Giving Overview

The Learning by Giving Program, begun in 2003, is a program of the Sunshine Lady Foundation founded by Doris Buffett in 1996.

The goal of the Learning by Giving program is to support and promote the study of philanthropy at the undergraduate level nationwide in order to prepare, empower and inspire young adults to become effective, knowledgeable and skilled philanthropists and leaders in their communities.  The Learning by Giving Program achieves this goal by supporting undergraduate courses in philanthropy with grants of $10,000 for students to distribute  in local nonprofits as an investment in solutions to community problems.  The Learning by Giving grants enable undergraduates to experience firsthand the art and science of philanthropy through courses offered in a variety of academic disciplines; and encourage the growth of undergraduates’ philanthropic values and leadership activities over their lifetime.

The Foundation believes that the study of philanthropy is well suited to a wide variety of academic disciplines, including Political Science, Economics, Business, Human Ecology, English, History, Sociology, Public Administration and more.  However, the courses share common goals and methodologies.  Based in a framework of community based learning through local grantmaking,  The courses help students develop their own values as philanthropists ; understand community needs; analyze the role of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy in our society; evaluate the strength of nonprofit organizations and their impact on the community; explore the current public policy issues on philanthropy; and develop leadership skills as they carry out an effective philanthropic strategy.

The Learning by Giving Program supports philanthropy courses in the following outstanding colleges and universities:

Davidson University
University of Mary Washington
Cornell University
Tufts University
McMaster University, Ontario Canada
University of Montana
Ball State University
Georgetown University
Valparaiso University
College of the Holy Cross
University of California Berkeley
SUNY Binghamton
University of Southern California   
Providence College
Northeastern University
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill   
New York University

The Learning by Giving Program focuses on undergraduates in order to introduce as many students as possible to the power and potential of philanthropy, and to encourage those who may not otherwise have explored this area in their undergraduate career.  The philanthropy courses funded by the Learning by Giving Program must be full credit courses, as the Foundation’s vision is that colleges and universities will include the study of philanthropy as a regular offering in the undergraduate curriculum.

The entire $10,000 Learning by Giving grant is for student grantmaking. The Sunshine Lady Foundation does not grant additional administrative expenses. Learning by Giving grant funds must go to local organizations with confirmed 501(c)(3) status.

As of the end of the spring semester of 2010, the Learning by Giving Program has distributed over $175,000 in funding to 16 colleges and universities across the country whose undergraduate philanthropy courses have funded over 50 grants to improve the quality of life in their local communities.

The Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals for the Learning by Giving Program.