Maryvale, sign, Phoenix, village, Arizona

In partnership with ASU social work students, national foundation grants $10,000 to Arizona nonprofit to serve Maryvale community

An Arizona nonprofit is $10,000 richer, thanks to a grant from a charitable foundation presented by an Arizona State University social work class.

The Tucson-based Arizona Youth Partnership (AZYP), which works with Arizona communities to prevent and solve local social problems, will receive the funds through a collaboration between ASU and the Learning by Giving Foundation.

ASU and the Boston-based foundation collaborated to allow students enrolled in SWU 411, Social Work Practice III, to participate in an experiential learning process that teaches how to make charitable gifts through grants.

The Learning by Giving Foundation “inspires and educates a new generation of philanthropists and community leaders to effectively distribute capital to local communities,” according to its website.

The Learning by Giving Foundation grants support accredited courses teaching philanthropy with grant money for distribution, partnering with classes in select colleges and universities around the country to give away $10,000 each to local nonprofit organizations.

ASU students created a hypothetical foundation, called the One Square Mile Foundation, to choose the recipient of the grant. The students selected AZYP, which operates in a one-square-mile area of the west Phoenix community of Maryvale. AZYP’s mission aligns with the foundation’s to “empower members within the Maryvale Community to enhance access to healthcare and social services, opportunities for youth engagement and a means of transportation.”

In 2019, AZYP joined with another nonprofit called Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services (TOPS) to form the Starting Out Right Program.

The Starting Out Right Program provides community-based pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and life skills education and support using healthy decision-making and resiliency-building as a method of preventing rapid repeat pregnancy and increasing health, wellness and self-efficacy.

With the grant money, AZYP will recruit and enroll additional pregnant youths from the Maryvale one square mile area.

“This was the organization that our class agreed would make the most impact with the money given to them in the Maryvale community,” said Yecinya Santana, the student committee leader for marketing and outreach for the One Square Mile Foundation.

At a Dec. 1 grant ceremony, the class’ instructor, ASU School of Social Work lecturer Melanie Reyes, praised the students for their progress while working on the grant. She said that they were able to directly see how the grant-making process works and to look deeply into "what philanthropy truly is and can be."

“The students divided into committees to make the tasks more manageable, with committees devoted to planning and oversight, the request for proposals, marketing and outreach, the proposal review process and the grants award ceremony,” Reyes said.

Each committee evaluated different nonprofit organizations’ proposals to make sure they met the criteria before selecting AZYP.

“AZYP hit all of the criteria,” Santana said.

Written by Morgan Carden, ASU School of Social Work