CSPL210: Money and Social Change (Fall 2014)

Have you ever felt like you could make real social change happen if you just had enough money to give? Leveraging funds for social and environmental good, it turns out, is far more complex than throwing money at problems. In a unique course being taught this fall by Criterion Institute president Joy Anderson, students will learn the ropes of impact investing – with real money.

Course description from WesMaps:
“How do people make decisions about using their money for social change? Where will it have the most impact? When do shifts in the rules or the use of capital create systemic change and address structural inequities? This course will explore the role of capital in social change. If we rethink how social change happens–analyzing the nonprofit and public sectors, but also new sector-blending approaches and concepts like collective impact–how does our perspective on capital shift? As a part of this unique course, students will work through an active process of selecting a set of nonprofits in and around Middletown to which, as a class, they will actually grant a total of $10,000.”

CSPL210 offers a quintessential service-learning experience in the sense that students engage with the course content – that is, theories of social change – differently and more deeply when it is coupled with activity in the real world. Comments by previous participants reveal just how drastically their understanding of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy changed throughout the process of selecting grant recipients.

A few spots in the Fall 2014 course remain. Interested students should reach out to the instructor (anderson@criterioninstitute.org) with a clear, concise statement on why they would like to take the course, the core questions that they will bring, and how the course fits with their personal goals and life history.

Several other service-learning courses on a wide range of topics will take place this semester. Check back soon for more information on their seat availability.