Learning by Giving Philanthropy Grant

Davidson College students enrolled in POL 381, "Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector," administer the philanthropy grant. The funding, totaling $15,000, was made available through the generosity of the Learning by Giving Foundation in order to promote student learning about effective and responsible philanthropy.

The grant money will be awarded to non-profits that submit what the class judges to be the most promising projects. The grant thus has two equally important purposes:

  • Pedagogical, to promote student learning about grant writing, project proposals, and effective philanthropy.
  • Stewardship and service, to ensure that these funds are allocated to the most worthy project proposals generated in the broader community.

The students are responsible for all aspects of the grant, including determination of eligibility requirements, priorities and preferences, application procedures, and selection of grantees. Neither the Learning by Giving Foundation nor Davidson College plays any role in these deliberations.

The Grant

A total of $15,000 in grant money is available to eligible non-profit agencies through a competitive application process. Grant requests may range from $2,000 to $10,000.

We invite proposals from registered 501(c)(3) organizations with sustainable projects in the greater Charlotte and Lake Norman areas, including Alexander, Iredell, Catawba, Rowan, Lincoln, Gaston, Cleveland, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Union, Anson and Stanly counties.

Both secular and faith-based organizations are welcome to apply, although proposals for projects with mainly proselytizing goals will not be considered. Proposals may request funds to launch a new project or support an ongoing one.

The class is especially interested in supporting projects and non-profits focusing on urgent, unmet social needs, including but not limited to food and nutrition security, affordable housing, and youth development.

Of the $15,000 in grant money, $5,000 is earmarked for proposals from non-profits operating in one of the four towns in the immediate vicinity of Davidson College: Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, and Mooresville. The remaining $10,000 is open for all non-profits in the Greater Charlotte area.

The students will use the following criteria in assessing the applications: project design, project impact, organizational capacity, finance and budget, and application quality.

Application Form

Download the grant application form (DOC).


Applications may be submitted by email attachment or mail. Email attachments or posted mail must be received by Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Applicants will receive acknowledgement of receipt of application by email. Applicants will be notified of grant allocation decisions in the second week of May.

Contact Information

Applications should be emailed to Prof. Ken Menkhaus at kemenkhaus@davidson.edu, or mailed to:

Professor Ken Menkhaus
Political Science Department
Davidson College
Box 7057
Davidson, NC 28035

For clarification or more information, please contact Prof. Ken Menkhaus at his email address or at 704-894-2291. Do not contact the Learning by Giving Foundation or Davidson College administration; they have no direct role in the grant.

View past grant recipients (PDF).