2019 Schools in Philanthropy Program

The Schools in Philanthropy (SIP) Program was established by the Geelong Community Foundation in 2011 to help young people learn about philanthropy, social awareness and community leadership.   The SIP Program is based on a similar initiative founded in 2002 by the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation in Melbourne.

The Program aims to inspire young people to use their enthusiasm, creativity and energy to begin a life-long commitment to giving, through activities that have a positive impact on the communities in which they live and will one day work.  The Program also aims to facilitate school and student involvement with the Foundation, and build awareness about how it invests in solutions that strengthen communities across the Geelong Region.

In 2019, the SIP Program will engage VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) students to help them appreciate the contribution made to society through philanthropy.  Schools involved in 2019 are Bellarine Secondary College, Belmont High School, Christian College and Sacred Heart.  The Foundation will invite secondary schools in the region to apply to be involved in the program in 2020.

With thanks to John Tabone and Julie Pavletich, who have volunteered their time to the Foundation, the 2019 program has been mapped to the VCAL curriculum and detailed teacher resources developed to support classroom learning.

The Approach to Program Delivery

The Foundation aims to use a ‘light touch’ approach which empowers teachers to fully manage the SIP Program with their students.  The Foundation provides materials and program resources which teachers can use to guide students through the process.  Teachers are expected to take full responsibility for the learning outcomes of their students.  This approach relies on teachers’ professional expertise to help the students achieve their personal best outcomes, and consequently, the Program objectives.  It also relies on the energy and enthusiasm of the students to take ownership of their learning as they become young grant makers.

The Foundation provides additional support in the form of a Mentor whose role it is to provide advice and share knowledge about the Foundation, philanthropy and the various community organisations encountered through the Program. Throughout the Program there are a number of touch points where the Mentor or other representatives from the Foundation make contact to interact and participate in the learning process.  As well as providing support, these are important opportunities for students to learn first-hand about the Foundation and the social issues it aims to address in our community.

How the Schools in Philanthropy Program Works

The Foundation works with schools that express interest in being part of the SIP program.  A VCAL class and its teacher or co-ordinator are identified and matched with an experienced Mentor.  The teacher and students are introduced to the Program by the Chief Executive Officer and Mentor, and learn about the work of the Foundation and grant process.

The Program is instigated early in Term 1, and concludes mid Term 2, with key dates and mandatory deliverables advised by the Foundation in line with its grant timeline and accountabilities.

Teachers then use the Program materials to guide the students through four learning modules.  Through these modules, the students develop awareness about local social issues, and they learn about community leadership, philanthropy, the third sector, and the work of the  Foundation.   With this knowledge on board, they take an applied learning approach to becoming young grant makers.

The Foundation identifies a number of community organisations, which have applied for grants from the major grant round, and which are deemed suitable for the schools.  The Foundation then distributes three grant applications to each school.

Working with their teacher, and with input from their Mentor, the students undertake research and analysis of the organisations and the project for which funding has been applied.  The research includes a visit to each of the three community organisations for a presentation, and where possible, to see the organisations in operation.

As young grant makers, the students apply their skills in assessing grant applications, interview representatives from the community organisations who have applied for grants, and make sound, values-based judgements about these applications.  The total of the grant amounts requested by the organisations always exceeds the amount available, therefore the students need to carefully evaluate the requests in order to make informed decisions about how the funds should be dispersed.

Finally, the students make a formal presentation to the Foundation Board where they make grant recommendations, deliver their rationale and reflect on their learning throughout the SIP Program.  The 2019 student presentations to the Board will be held on Tuesday 30th April at the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre.  The Foundation is grateful for the support from the Geelong Regional Library Corporation and the Heritage Centre for hosting our event.