Benjamin Franklin would be Proud of this Philanthropic Student Group

West Chester, PA– At the Chester County Community Foundation, growing philanthropy is the core mission of all of those involved with the organization. One way the Foundation grows philanthropy is by working with our communities’ youth to demonstrate the power of giving back. The Foundation partners with the Honors Stewardship and Civics Engagement Class at West Chester University (WCU) to recommend the nonprofit recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Trust grant award. The class is taught by Gerardina Martin, WCU Learning Assistance and Resource Center Director, who also serves on the Community Foundation’s Grants Committee.

Students in the Honors Stewardship and Civics class use the knowledge they have gained pertaining to grant proposal writing and effective due diligence in the grant making process,  to evaluate grant proposals submitted by qualifying nonprofit organizations.  The students also explore Ben Franklin’s accomplishments and learn about his core values. At the end of their class, the student group presents their recommendation for a grant recipient to the Foundation’s Grants Committee. The grant recipient is a charitable organization whose mission and program reflects Ben Franklin’s core values and interests.

In his 1790 will & testament Benjamin Franklin left 1,000 pounds of sterling to the city of Philadelphia. This donation by Benjamin Franklin became the Benjamin Franklin Trust and was invested to last in perpetuity. Indeed, Franklin’s philanthropic vision remains a reality 226 years later.  In 1995, the Trust was allocated among numerous nonprofit entities, including a number of Philadelphia-area community foundations.  Now, each year, through Franklin’s Trust, the Chester County Community Foundation makes grants to programs and initiatives that Franklin himself had championed: such as fire companies, libraries and education.

This year’s student group members were Morgan McMurtrie, Kelsiann Acer, Hanna Hattier, and Carrie Morton. For this year’s Benjamin Franklin Trust grant awards process, the student group narrowed down their deliberations to twenty five grant proposals from qualifying nonprofits. The class developed guidelines and criteria for their decision making. Lastly, they discussed and decided on which organization to recommend a grant award. The final decision was to recommend a $1000 grant award to the West Chester Public Library for their Chess Program. The award will allow the West Chester Library Chess program to obtain more materials for their after school chess program.

Benjamin Franklin would certainly be thrilled to see a grant from his trust going towards libraries and the game of chess in his memory. Ben Franklin is known for being an avid chess player, even writing an essay on the game called “The Morals of Chess”. He is also known for creating The Library Company of Philadelphia. The Chester County Community Foundation is proud of these student’s commitment to philanthropy in a day and age when giving back is not focused on by the youth.

Headquartered in West Chester’s historic Lincoln Building, the Chester County Community Foundation connects people who care with causes that matter, so their legacy philanthropy makes a difference now and forever.  The Community Foundation holds nearly $50 million in trust and annually awards $2.5 million in grants and scholarships.  For more information, contact or (610) 696-8211.