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Class Descriptions

Fundraising and Grant Writing


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Pathway Associations

Community ChangeElective
Interpersonal Practice
Mgmt & LeadershipElective (Host)
Policy & PoliticalElective
Program EvaluationElective
Older Adults
Children & Families

Course Description

Social impact organizations secure resources through a variety of methods, including fees, grants, contracts, financial gifts, in-kind (non-cash) contributions, and investments. This course involves assessing an agency’s resource mix and developing tactics and strategies to sustain or expand its revenue streams. Students will explore the range of possible income sources that organizations can allocate to advance social justice by expanding and improving services, empowering groups, reaching populations in need, improving social conditions or anticipating and responding to new challenges. The implications of using alternative approaches of income generation and of changing the income mix will be analyzed in terms of mission accomplishment, program viability, adherence to ethics and values, and organizational sustainability. Skill development will be emphasized in areas such as grant seeking, proposal writing, donor development, direct solicitation of gifts, service contracting, and strategically communicating mission. Students will learn how to identify prospective funding sources, build relationships with potential donors, funders and collaborators, write, package and submit grant proposals, and communicate strategically. This course will also address emerging and changing trends in philanthropy.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Identify appropriate funding strategies that support financial sustainability of an organization.
2. Locate appropriate funding sources for programs, projects, and identified organizational and community needs.
3. Cultivate, steward, and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with potential funders, donors and other stakeholders.
4. Write, package and submit proposals that are technically complete and contribute to social equity.
5. Distinguish between the advantages and disadvantages of funding sources and strategies in terms of mission, program achievement, ethics, and organizational sustainability.
6. Explore ethical concerns related to applying for, accepting, and managing grants, as well as philanthropy and fundraising.


The instruction in this course uses experiential and inclusive pedagogy that encourages the development of solutions to relevant problems in the field. The course’s design includes such instructional methods as: mini lectures case studies, in-class exercises, and applied assignments. In addition, there is an emphasis on proposal writing and group project planning and implementation. Guest speakers may join classes when relevant.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

Strategies for socially equitable and inclusive practices will be explored and developed so that all resource development contributes to social justice and social change. Students will review the growing body of evidence about privilege in relation to philanthropy, and how traditional mechanisms of philanthropy, grant making and fundraising can contribute to and normalize oppression and marginalization. Course content, discussion, and assignments will address the ways in which populations that traditionally have experienced marginalization can be disproportionately negatively affected by the activities of fundraising and grant making, as well as the role of social workers in disrupting existing structures.

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