Tom Morrione ’65 thought he might have shot himself in the foot.
For three years, Morrione, Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology, had taught a popular seminar, Nonprofit Organizations and Philanthropy, in which students write grants for area nonprofits and donate $10,000 to the nonprofit(s) deemed most deserving.
The success of the course at Colby, which was funded by the Sunshine Lady Foundation, endowed by Doris Buffet, landed Morrione on the foundation’s academic advisory team. One of his recommendations: that after three years colleges fund the course themselves. “Somebody who is doing well with it ought to be able to find funding elsewhere,” Morrione said.
In Colby’s case, the funding found the course. “I had … noticed [in Colby magazine] the interesting course my old Colby Professor Tom Morrione had put together on philanthropy, focused on writing proposals to fund worthy charities,” the alumnus wrote in an e-mail, asking to remain anonymous. “When I saw Tom I let him know that I would be happy to support the funding of awards to the charities.”
The class attracts students from a variety of disciplines, he said. “Environmental studies, government, economics,” he said. “They’re coming from all over the place.”
Typically Morrione turns away as many students as he can take—an indication of great interest in nonprofits on the part of Colby students, he said. “Students have come back and told me that when they had job interviews, one of the things that comes up is this course,” he said. “They … send a copy of the grant that they wrote and describe the course. It’s been exceptionally helpful.”
Morrione hopes the donation leads to the course being offered long into the future, he said. “I’m not going to be here forever.”