A Chapman student shows off a Joy Jar created by the Jessie Rees Foundation for children undergoing treatment for cancer. The foundation's motto is “Never Ever Give Up.”Each semester, students get to experience the joys and challenges of philanthropic giving as part of an innovative educational program at Chapman, the Panther Experiential Philanthropy Project (PEPP). Students enrolled in courses such as IES 103 “Philosophy of Helping” are charged with the task of awarding grants of up to $2,000 to local nonprofit organizations.

Since the project launched in 2019, students in PEPP have made grants to more than 30 charities, with donations totalling more than $50,000 for local organizations. Past recipients include the Friendly Center, Mary’s Kitchen and Higher Ground Youth and Family Services. This semester’s beneficiaries were:

• Someone Cares, a soup kitchen in Costa Mesa
• Jessie Rees Foundation, support for children with cancer
• Kherut, empowering survivors of sex trafficking

“Chapman encourages our students to become global citizens, and that includes supporting causes in their own backyard,” said Alisa Driscoll, vice president of community relations at the university. Driscoll created and runs the program along with Whitney McIntyre Miller, associate professor of leadership programs. “But PEPP is more than an educational opportunity for our students,” Driscoll said. “It’s become a real force for good in our community.”