College of Human Sciences students award $2,500 grant to local nonprofit

Published: May 10, 2023

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Students from the College of Human Sciences Grantmaking for Philanthropists class awarded Opelika based nonprofit Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services Child Advocacy Center a $2,500 check to support the organizations mission. Twin Cedars was chosen out of 18 grant proposals.

The mission of Twin Cedars Child Advocacy Center is to facilitate and achieve healing and justice for abused and neglected children by providing core services of forensic interviewing, family advocacy, trauma focused therapy and forensic medical exams using a trauma informed multidisciplinary team approach.

The $2,500 was provided by the Community Foundation of East Alabama. The foundation serves as a local center for philanthropy by working with individuals, families, corporations, private foundations and nonprofit organizations to help them achieve their charitable objectives and address emerging community issues. Board members Vanessa Echols and Shirley Lazenby listened to student experiences prior to the check being presented to Twin Cedars.

The inaugural grantmaking course led by Assistant Professor of Philanthropy and Nonprofit studies in the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences Peter Weber started in the spring of 2021 with just six students and has since grown to 20. 

Throughout this semester, Weber has helped students understand nonprofits and philanthropic grantmaking through developing mission and vision statements, conducting needs assessments, analyzing grant proposals and conducting site visits. Students learned grant writing and measuring social impact, as well as the importance of collaboration when working in a group setting.

“I do not take for granted how hard it was for you all to make this decision and how difficult it was to narrow it down to just us,” Twin Cedars Program Coordinator LaTrivia Mayers said. “Our agency is all about making sure that we help victims of abuse feel empowered and their families find balance, healing and justice. I want you to know that the difficult work that you have done this semester will go to an amazing cause and help children continue to get medical exams.”

One student who advocated for Twin Cedars Child Advocacy Center was Chloe Czapla, a senior majoring in philanthropy and nonprofit studies. Czapla interned with the organization last summer and spoke of the impact it had on her.

“Some of these sexual assault nursing exams can cost anywhere between $650 to $800, but the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission only reimburses $450, so there’s a deficit there,” Czapla said. “This is the only organization in this area that does these exams, it’s definitely beneficial.”

Reagan Myers, a senior majoring in Philanthropy and Nonprofit studies and Human Development and Family Sciences, said because of this experience, she now understands the importance of a positive grantor/grantee relationship.

“In the Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies major we have gotten so many hands-on opportunities to learn from nonprofits in the area and from professionals in the field, but this is the first time I’ve gotten to see the other side of it, the funder side of it,” Myers said.

Submitted by: Graham Brooks

Students holding a grant