Karen and Bruce Levenson’s $5.6 million gift funds fast-growing center that focuses on philanthropy and nonprofit management
ATLANTA, Feb. 19, 2015 — Launched first with seed money from Karen and Bruce Levenson three years ago and then a follow on major gift from the Levensons, The Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Maryland has quickly grown into the leading center for philanthropic studies in the Nation’s Capital.
The Center features a host of innovative courses and programs including several classes each semester that each culminate in $10,000 gifts to worthy non-profit organizations. This school year marked the first where a “living and learning” dorm was created for sixty incoming freshmen taking courses at the Center. And a just completed abroad program sponsored by the Center sent 12 graduate students to India to work for three NGOs focused on the disabled, wildlife preservation and youth outreach.
This semester, thousands of University of Maryland students will participate in the Do Good Challenge funded, organized and run by the Center. Now in its fourth year, the Challenge is an innovative campus wide competition that inspires students to make the greatest social impact they can for their favorite cause. Winners receive $20,000 in prize money to advance their causes.
“The mission of the Center is two fold,” according to Bruce Levenson. “We are giving students in the program the skills and experiences they need to be the next generation of leaders in the non-profit sector. And, at the same time, we are using the Center in a multi-pronged effort to ensure that every student attending the University of Maryland graduates as an informed and motivated philanthropist.”
“It is leveraged philanthropy at its best,” adds Karen Levenson, a University of Maryland alum.
Students in the program are frequently sought after by nonprofits in the D.C. area to participate as fellows for organizations such as the Marriott Foundation and the Smithsonian. Upon graduation, many of the students find full-time employment at the nonprofits where they have worked as fellows. And some have started their own non-profits launched through support from the Center. The University of Maryland is providing innovative ways to teach and encourage its students to give back to the community.
The Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership is an exciting new approach to higher education that is helping both local and international communities. “The students will be able to put the skills and experiences they gain from the Center to work to impact lives locally, nationally and around throughout the world,” said Bruce Levenson. “Of all the worthy causes we have been involved in, the Center has the potential to have far and away the most profound impact,” Karen Levenson added.
About Bruce Levenson
Bruce Levenson is an NBA team owner, businessman, board member and philanthropist. He is the co-founder of United Communications Group (UCG) and a founding board member of TechTarget. Additionally, Bruce Levenson is a founding donor to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and has led fund-raising efforts for the Jewish Federation and other Jewish causes. Bruce Levenson is a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks and sits on the NBA Board of Governors. He has served as the President for the Washington chapter of the I Have a Dream Foundation and is a founding and continuing supporter of the Seed Foundation, a unique boarding school program for underserved students. He has served on the board of Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund and is a supporter of Seeds of Peace.
About Karen Levenson
Karen Levenson is a teacher, mentor and tutor who has taught in public schools and worked with students in underserved neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. She joined with Bruce in sponsoring an I Have a Dream Foundation class, has run numerous programs for the Jewish Youth Philanthropy Institute and, along with Bruce, sponsors the “Bringing the Lessons Home” program, an initiative that teaches underserved youth the lessons of the Holocaust and trains them to serve as tour guides at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.