Gatton’s “Economics of Altruism” course leads to lasting impact for 6 local non-profits

$50K in grants awarded

Professor Gail Hoyt’s ECO 410, ‘Economics of Altruism,’ course has made it a mission to make meaningful contributions to local nonprofit organizations by understanding their purpose, operations, and areas of development. The course divides students into groups who work rigorously to provide an in-depth analysis of the organization's current operations, efforts, and business strategies. Through their findings and multiple interactions with organizational leadership, students propose plans for use of funding that would best suit each non-profit.

Junior Finance and Economics major, Trevor Payne said, “This course really energized me this past semester. I think the real-world aspect of Dr. Hoyt's class made me really excited to come to class every day, as it always felt more like a board meeting than a typical class. Being able to take the economic theories or various analysis methods and apply them to a partner organization to help them further their mission was rewarding and exciting.”

For the fifth year in a row, grants have been awarded from the late Doris Buffet Learning by Giving Foundation and the Davisson/Sonsteby Family Charitable Trust, resulting in a $10,000 grant awarded to one local nonprofit. This year, the class participants successfully completed the fall projects for the selected non-profits and were surprised with a generous increase in the support of the donors that allowed them to give out $50,000 in grant awards.

“We are so grateful that the generous support of our donors gives our students the opportunity to learn how to give back to the community in ways that are efficient and effective. Students apply tools of economic analysis in the real world, with real and lasting implications and they learn that the same tools that increase the profitability of a business can also improve the effectiveness and reach of nonprofit organizations,” states Gail Hoyt, Professor of Economics.

Grants were awarded as follows:

Explorium of Lexington creates a fun and dynamic hands-on learning environment that inspires imagination and curiosity. ($10,000 grant)

New Beginnings, Bluegrass, is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with serious mental illness by providing quality, recovery-based housing and support services. ($10,000 grant)

Jubilee Jobs, specializes in finding entry-level jobs for the unemployed and underemployed. ($7,500)

Children’s Advocacy Center, mission is to reduce the trauma experienced by sexually abused children by providing services to them in a nurturing, friendly and safe environment. ($7,500)

A Chance to Dance, founded in 2013 and is a non-profit organization that offers dance classes free of charge to children of all ages with various special needs. ($7,500)

Foodchain, forging links between community and fresh food through education and demonstration of sustainable food systems. ($7,500)