The Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) is an organization at NAU that dedicates itself to educating the student body about the importance of philanthropy and volunteerism. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, philanthropy is an active effort to promote human welfare, while a volunteer is defined as a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service.
From 2007 to 2008, SPC facility adviser and manager of annual giving in the advancement foundation office at NAU, Abraham Kelley created a senior class campaign as a faculty member. Kelley said he officially started the SPC in 2009, where they recruited members from all classes at NAU. The council is proud of their work and that they have grown, progressed and gained more members, he said.
“Our philanthropy is just doing work by us, for the students just to create a huge community of people,” said sophomore SPC vice president Allison Keinz. “But also, our philanthropy includes scholarships. We are huge into fundraising for students.”
Keinz said the motto of the SPC is “by students, for students,” as well as being the logo on the back of their T-shirts.
The council’s purpose is to educate students about the importance of engaging in the community and hosting events to make it more accessible for individuals to participate in philanthropy like the annual blood drive they do on campus.
“The whole purpose of the group is to promote philanthropy and the importance of giving back to society, whether that be supporting and giving back to any fellowships or programs they feel passionate about or to the greater community,” Kelley said.
The SPC comprises five committees, including events, service, fundraising, media marketing and social. Each committee has different goals, which help keep the council functioning, sophomore SPC secretary Kinsey Kavanagh said.
“Our main focus is supporting the student body,” Kavanagh said. “We plan to distribute thank-you baskets to campus workers because many have gone above and beyond to help students transition under all the COVID-19 guidelines. We hope to hold safe events that students can attend to regain some type of normalcy this semester. These events also help us fundraise for our scholarships.”
Kavanagh said the council wants to promote and fundraise for education, including the two scholarships they offer to NAU students. The scholarships the SPC hosts are the NAU Student Philanthropy Scholarship and the NAU Senior Legacy Scholarship. Any money the council gets from their fundraisers goes to these scholarships, including funds raised from the carnival that usually happens during Homecoming week.
“These scholarships go back to NAU students with the goal of promoting Lumberjack pride by directly supporting our student body,” Kavanagh said.
In addition to fundraising and scholarships, the council is also physically involved in the community. Not just the Lumberjack community, but the Flagstaff community, including helping out at High Country Humane.
“We are active in the community, cleaning up our adopted trail and road, as well as helping out with Louie’s Cupboard,” Kavanagh said. “On campus, we hold blood drives and informational booths to promote philanthropy on campus.”
Louie’s Cupboard is a food pantry that provides perishable and nonperishable food that help individuals in the NAU community who cannot afford food. The SPC assists Louie’s Cupboard frequently.
“We will go for a certain amount of time and help gather the food into the bags and help give the food to the students who come,” Keinz said. “Basically, we’re just kind of like checking people in, helping them get their food and gathering it for them. It’s free food for students who need it.”
Keinz said a united community is what the SPC is trying to promote when helping students become involved with campus life. She also said it is essential to the council that students engage with one another.
“The Student Philanthropy Council promotes a united Lumberjack community,” Kavanagh said. “Our scholarships are funded by the student body and granted back to the student body, and our fundraisers encourage students to give back to the community and engage with one another. The Student Philanthropy Council helps build a strong tradition of Lumberjack pride.”
Kavanagh said these scholarships could also include encouraging students to engage with one another, which is why the council hosts many events, including information booths outside University Union throughout the year.
“The Student Philanthropy Council helps students become involved on campus and in their community, as well as [holding] events that enable students to engage with one another and get to know fellow Lumberjacks,” Kavanagh said.
Each event they host has a different goal in mind, but the main purpose of hosting events is the interaction with the student body.
However, Keinz said COVID-19 has greatly affected the council when it comes to hosting events and fundraising, making it harder to meet their fundraising goals. She also said it is a bit harder to have other events like dances they hosted in the past.
Regardless of the effects COVID-19 has on the SPC, they are always looking for new participants for the council.
“We’re always looking for new members, and we’re always looking to get the word out there,” Kelley said. “We have these great scholarships because these two scholarships that we raise money for are solely funded by donations from the student body.”
The SPC meets every Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m. and is held over Zoom. If students want more information or are interested in joining the council, they can visit the website, as well as the council’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.