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Framingham State Students Donate $10,000 to the United Teen Equality Center

Donation was part of Dr. Ira Silver’s nonprofit giving course at Framingham State University funded by the Learning by Giving Foundation.

Students in Framingham State University Professor Ira Silver’s Charitable Giving Course award $10,000 to Keon Webbe and Johnny Chheng from the United Teen Equality Center. Credit: FSU
Students in Framingham State University Professor Ira Silver’s Charitable Giving Course award $10,000 to Keon Webbe and Johnny Chheng from the United Teen Equality Center. Credit: FSU
By Daniel Magazu

For the students in Dr. Ira Silver’s nonprofit giving course at Framingham State University, the growing opportunity divide in American society isn’t 
just a subject to talk about in class - it’s a problem they’re equipped to go out into the world and mitigate.

Thanks to the support of the Learning by Giving Foundation, the class has $10,000 to award to a non-profit organization in the Boston area.

After researching nearly 50 organizations, the class awarded the money to the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, during a special reception on campus on Thursday, May 8.

The mission of the class was to assist an organization that is actively working to close the opportunity divide in America. The students felt that UTEC best fulfilled that mission. 

“We were inspired by the staff and the work they do to help teens turn their lives around and embark on paths toward success,”  said Framingham State student Kristin Espinola said during the 
reception.

The students presented the check for $10,000 to UTEC Streetworker Johnny Chheng and Manager of Corporate Relations and Job Development Keon Webbe. 

The Center was founded in 1999 as the result of an organizing movement driven by young people to develop their own teen center in response to gang violence.

Today, nationally recognized as a model youth development agency, UTEC's mission and promise is to ignite and nurture the ambition of our most disconnected youth to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success. The organization serves proven-risk youth from both Lowell and Lawrence.

Student Lindsey Cronk says the Charitable Giving Course has changed her entire view of sociology and the career paths that are available.

“Going on the site visits to these great non-profits was really inspiring,” she said. “I’m really grateful to the Learning by Giving Foundation for providing us with this opportunity.”

Students in the course began the semester by reading Dr. Silver’s book, Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream, which shows how philanthropy can enable Americans experiencing hard times to move their lives forward.

Students subsequently researched nonprofits that, at least from their websites, appear to be doing promising work to fuel greater opportunity. They came up with a list of nearly 50 organizations which, after lengthy discussion, they whittled down to 27 whose work seemed to most 
closely fit the classes’ mission.

The students spent a couple of hours creating a grant application, discussing the kinds of information they would need to make a proper evaluation of organizations interested in obtaining funding. Then they invited the list of 27 to submit proposals, 20 of which did. 

After a careful review of the applications, including four site visits, the class decided to award the entire $10,000 to the United Teen Equality Center.

Learn more about Dr. Silver’s work on his blog at www.oppforall.com.

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