Student Philanthropy Programs

Through an integrated, holistic, and student-focused program in philanthropy, the Mark and Kathleen Helge Endowed Program for Students and Philanthropy will help students connect their passions to meaningful and purposeful generosity that they can cultivate and sustain throughout life as they lead and serve in church and society.

Most people want to effect positive change in the world, but they are not always sure what role they can play.  In our program, we want to help with this.  By using the lens of philanthropy, we want to guide students as they unearth their unique gifts; become more aware of the needs and issues of the world; learn to be good stewards of their time, talents, and treasures; and discover how being generous can channel their passion and benefit the common good.

It is the vision of the Mark and Kathleen Helge Student Philanthropy Programs that by graduation, Valparaiso University students will be able to envision and implement a personal form of philanthropy as it relates to their passion and the change they want to see in the world.

Through participation in our programs students will be able to:

  • explain what philanthropy is and provide examples
  • demonstrate a clearer understanding of themselves and articulate their own philanthropic identity
  • demonstrate an understanding of communities/others & reflect on ways they relate to and can impact these communities/others
  • identify ways to engage/effect change through meaningful and purposeful generosity and ways to cultivate their unique philanthropic skills/abilities
  • envision and create a plan for a personal form of philanthropy rooted in their passions that they can live out as they lead and serve in church and society

What is Philanthropy?

Voluntary Action for the Public Good

Our work is rooted in this definition of philanthropy penned by Dr. Robert Payton and Dr. Michael Moody and elaborated on in their 2008 book Understanding Philanthropy.

The 5 T’s of Philanthropy

Each person has a variety of resources that they can give through philanthropic action, but in general they can fall into one of five categories:

  • Time
  • Talent
  • Treasure
  • Testimony
  • Ties

Guiding Principles

  • Present philanthropic narratives and perspectives from a variety of cultural backgrounds
  • Remember the power and privilege dynamics of philanthropy, seek humility in giving 
  • Be aware of the traditions and the spectrum of generosity, while pursuing justice 
  • Advocate for serving “with” instead of “for” and remove the “otherness” of giving 


Generosity Awards and Generosity Week

Every year around National Philanthropy Day, November 15th, the Student Philanthropy Programs recognizes the generosity of others on this campus through the generosity awards and hosts philanthropy and generosity programming throughout the week surrounding National Philanthropy Day

Click here to read more about the 2020 and 2021 Awards:

Pop-Up Giving Circles

Monthly, students have the opportunity to take part in a collective giving experience in which participants gather to discuss values, learn about the work of regional nonprofit organizations around a particular social issue, decide on an organization to support as a group, give a donation of pooled resources, and learn how to be engaged around the issue beyond the event. 

This is modeled off of Philanthropy Together’s Giving Circle Structure 

If you would like to partner on a customized giving circle experience reach out to

Philanthropic Reflections

During these reflections, participants explore values and reflect on the “why” of their philanthropic actions.  


Ryan Cole

Ryan Cole Director