La Follette’s areas of funding, Student Belonging, Learning, and Equity, reflect their school’s diverse student population.
How we did
How we did
Bridgewater College SSF focuses on student emergencies, whether related to transportation, the ability to take certain courses, or health and well-being. The club supported multiple community-based projects during the school year.
On the right, Bridgewater SSF members volunteered for their local Boys & Girls club. Members personally picked out and donated new toys and updated furniture for the facility during the holiday season.
The chapter’s annual “Students for Service” initiative is an effort to support school clubs and community outreach in ways that have long-term benefits. This year, the students chose to fund a community garden. The garden provided fresh, organic produce for the surrounding community throughout the year, and will continue to nourish minds and bodies in the long-term.
Bridgewater SSF raised over $300 in the fall from their annual parking spot raffle for students and faculty. In the spring semester, they used the remaining funds to support students affected by COVID-19. The club budgeted efficiently to disperse funds to as many students as possible.
When Bridgewater College hosted a relief fund for its students, the SSF chapter provided emergency grants to students alongside the college’s own funding, contributing to a larger support system for students and faculty.
We learned the most difficult experiences are ones where we realize that as much as we would like to, we can’t help everyone within the definition of our own standards; we’re confined to the realities that we are only provided so much to give and that we must do our best with what we are given.
Northglenn High School
In the 2019-2020 school year, the Northglenn High School SSF club funded GO STEM, a national program that facilitates conferences for middle school girls.
Each year, the conferences offer girls the chance to connect with industry professionals in STEM research. Over 100 middle schoolers and 80 women in STEM careers attended this year’s conference. Northglenn High School SSF further supported education, one of their main areas of funding, by providing a grant to a Northglenn economics teacher to purchase new books.
Additionally, the group used 3D printing technology to create and distribute magnets for fundraising purposes, and to create PPE to distribute to police officers, firefighters, doctors, and nurses working in the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.
The chapter invested in a second focus area, the environment, by providing their school’s Environmental Club with a grant to help purchase reusable silicone straws. The idea behind the straws was to provide one to each student in order to reduce the use of plastic straws.
Since the Environmental Club did not provide a plan for changing student behavior beyond distributing the straws, the SSF club only granted partial funding. While they supported the initiative, club members were thoughtful in ensuring their funds were spent in the most effective way possible.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the chapter came together to support each other’s mental and physical health from afar, and continued to bond as a team by supporting their community.
As students who constantly live in the world of Problem Based Learning, we have learned that there is always a way to turn barriers into obstacles, and obstacles were meant to be overcome… The opportunities that arose were a chance to connect with each other when we were feeling down and frustrated.
A chance to reflect on our year and how incredible it was. And a chance to find ways to support our front-line workers using our tech skills and our school’s technology.
Dubuque Senior High
For their fundraiser this year, the Dubuque Senior SSF chapter collaborated with the Hempstead SSF chapter to hold a charity night at a local Culver’s restaurant. At the event, SSF members set up tables and interacted with customers while raising funds and communicating the impact of their club. Additionally, the SSF group at Hempstead High School raised money at their “Feed the Need” luncheon during which SSF students served soup to community members.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, both of the Dubuque chapters provided groceries to families in need. Club members wrote positive messages and placed them in each grocery bundle before they were sent off to recipients.
Last, but not least, the Dubuque school SSFs supplied their school’s COVID-19 emergency fund with additional support. The funds helped secure mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for families without internet.
The impact of this grant gives our students the opportunity to stay on track and complete their high school work so they are prepared for the next adventure in their lives.
University of Central Florida
In the fall semester, the University of Central Florida (UCF) SSF focused on increasing their chapter’s knowledge of organization recruitment, campaigning, and fundraising. They added a new donation link to their website, raised $446 through various LEAD Scholars Academy class fundraisers, and received a matching grant of $4,000.
This year, the chapter participated in the “Adopt-a-Pond” program. Organized by LEAD Scholars, Adopt-a-Pond is UCF’s effort to remove litter from local ponds and offer clubs the opportunity to volunteer in natural environments.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, they provided emergency financial grants to students. The funds helped students cover costs of utilities, rent, and medical care as many lost their jobs and income. In addition, this funding helped to purchase caps and gowns for graduation. UCF SSF decided to donate their relief funding to the university’s Student Care Services, which has extensive resources to make an even bigger impact.
Dunnellon High School
The Dunnellon SSF chapter organized multiple fundraisers over the 2019-2020 school year. The club’s newly formed “Dollar Donut Days” ran from October to March, raising a total of $975. The club held its annual Pasta Dinner, which attracted 88 attendees and raised over $1,000.
Dunnellon SSF carried out “SSF Tickets for Testing,” a program that provides SAT and ACT tickets to students who can’t afford them otherwise. For this year’s volunteer project, Dunnellon SSF installed four brand new water stations in the high school.
Seeing the impact of COVID-19 on their school and community, Dunnellon SSF focused on making something good from the situation. The club donated their near-expired pantry contents to the local Church so that the community could immediately use them. The club then chose to use its COVID-19 relief funds to restock the pantry for the Fall 2020 semester.
The project was the largest ever attempted by our humble little chapter, and one that’s had the greatest impact on our school community.
We couldn’t believe the enormous number of compliments that we received from literally EVERYONE on our campus… Truly impactful in the most positive way and enormously gratifying to the membership.
The Stetson University SSF club raised $1,044 this academic year through staff donations and tabling events.
Their chapter volunteered with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to help Deland community members file taxes. Members of Stetson SSF interacted with others to alleviate stress related to filing taxes, and create an accessible working space for others.
When COVID-19 hit and impacted the student body, Stetson’s SSF chapter worked tirelessly to award grants through June 2020. Their efforts resulted in 11 separate grants awarded to international students who were barred from returning home to countries including Egypt, Kenya, Latvia, Mexico, Pakistan, and Taiwan. The grants ensured these stranded Stetson students could pay for food and rent.
Aside from COVID-19 relief grants, Stetson SSF approved another memorable grant for a student in need. A freshman student requested funds to travel home to see her mother, who at the time was diagnosed with breast cancer. The mother was the student’s only family member, as her father passed away a few years prior. The SSF chapter gave the student $250 to ensure them an air flight ticket.
When reading this application and approving the grant there was not a dry eye in the group. Being able to be the last line of hope for this student meant a ton to us.
To unite the national SSF chapters, MFF invited participating colleges to send members of their club to a collaborative Summit. In November 2019, the convening took place in Orlando, FL. The event allowed students to network with their peers, focus their strategy for the year ahead, and build ideas with MFF staff and nonprofit partners.
The SSF Summit provided opportunities for students to engage in professional and leadership development. mindSpark Learning, an MFF nonprofit partner, facilitated activities for SSF members focused on community building and developing leadership skills. We were joined by nonprofit executives from various industries for a “speed dating” event in which students were able to have one-on-one conversations with leaders in the field to ask questions and make connections. Summit participants “walked the walk” by donating leftover food from each day to a nearby Salvation Army location.
The summit allowed us to get out into the community and do actual work instead of just talking about the work.
Students and MFF staff then took a break from educational activities to visit the Second Harvest Food Bank in Orlando. Second Harvest distributes food to partner programs throughout Central Florida, such as food pantries, women’s shelters, senior centers, and more. In 2019, they distributed enough food for 76 million meals. In addition to touring the facility, SSF students volunteered their time and effort to prepare almost 7,000 meals for distribution.
In just two days, the Summit energized SSF members to dream big about what they can accomplish, and extract best practices from the successes and lessons of other clubs. For the MFF team, it represented a bold investment in the next generation of philanthropists and nonprofit leaders.
I think vocalizing our values, principles, and our mission to disrupt in our communities allowed me to map out the steps to achieving our goals. We know what we want to do, but this training helped me visualize our set path with clarity and creativity.
The 2019-2020 school year tested the ability of SSF members to change course and respond to local needs driven by the coronavirus. They rose to the challenge.
Each chapter not only supported their community through emergency grant making and leadership, they united as a group to provide support for each other.
We look forward to seeing how they’ll use this year’s experience to inform their philanthropic perspectives.