The premise of Professor Alex Counts’ course “Special Topics in Public Policy: Global Perspectives on Leading and Investing in Social Change” is for students to learn what philanthropy is and how it works through a class-wide grant competition researching and interviewing actual 501(c)3 non-profits and ultimately awarding one with $10,000. Financed by the Do Good Institute, this course at University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy empowered students with the agency and the responsibility to focus on one cause, identify organizations contributing impactful positive change to that cause, and ultimately deliberating on which organization’s proposal would best fit for the class’s agreed-upon mission.
The fact that the students felt compelled to give a $10,000 grant to UNICEF's Let Us Learn initiative is a huge testament to UNICEF’s work and the importance of supporting educational programs for the most marginalized children — especially girls — in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal.
As Chief Executive Officer of the American India Foundation and Founder of the Grameen Foundation, Professor Counts is a veteran in the field of philanthropic work. During the course’s "final exam” celebration, Counts offered these profound remarks on the insights gained from the course: “We learned together that philanthropy is not so much something that you do, but something you can be – a way of operating in society. It is about seeing problems and, rather than complaining about them or analyzing them through your political ideology, getting into action to solve those problems by taking concrete steps yourself and/or by helping organizations that have developed a pragmatic approach to solving them.”
Join us as we thank Professor Alex Counts, his students, and the Do Good Institute for their generous contribution!