Students Create $1.25 Million Fund for Public Service
February 24, 2012 – The first and largest student-funded public service repository of its kind – which will provide $1.25 million for nonprofits and social justice efforts – has been created at Georgetown.
The new Social Innovation and Public Service Fund (SIPS), recently approved through a vote by the student body, has access to $100,000 a year to invest in students and ideas that further the university’s Jesuit ideal of service to others.
The money was reallocated from a defunct student activities fee endowment.
“It’s not one benefactor who made this possible, it’s thousands of students over 10 years who really paid to make this fund possible,” says Nick Troiano (C’12), who came up with the idea.
Startups and Service
Jane Genster, interim executive director at Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice, Research and Teaching (CSJ), said she and her colleagues at the center have been “deeply impressed with both the thoughtful process in which the students have engaged and with the logic, purpose and potential impact of the SIPS Fund they have developed.”
The fund will support programming focused on increasing exposure to service and social justice on campus, expanding opportunities for individuals to make an impact and supporting student-led nonprofit organizations and social ventures.”
“I envision startup organizations appearing all over campus throughout the different schools, a more robust alternative spring break program and more students who can go on to serve in the public sector without having to worry about their student loan debt,” Troiano says.
Members and supporters of the SIPS Fund celebrated with a launch party Feb. 16 at Baked & Wired in Washington, D.C.
“We are so excited,” says Paige Lovejoy (SFS’12), a SIPS co-founder and steering committee member. “I think this is a really special opportunity for Georgetown, for our students and for the school as a whole.”
Clara Gustafson (SFS’13), another co-founder and steering committee member, says the focus for the first year will be “educating the whole undergraduate student body about it,” and then eventually reaching out to alumni from 2001 onwards who also can apply for funding.
“I think it will just be a matter of making sure those students know about these resources and helping them if they’re struggling to develop their idea to the fullest so that they could have a successful venture,” she says.
She hopes to work closely with CSJ and the McDonough School of Business, among other Georgetown entities.
Leading a Movement
“I think it has huge potential for the university to take a lead in entrepreneurship in the country,” Gustafson adds.
Lovejoy hopes the fund will serve as an example to other schools.
“I think for Georgetown, it’ll mean that we’re able to say other universities, ‘Look, we’re leading this movement,’” she says.