Paying It Forward: The Role of Student Philanthropy Course Activities on Civic Outcomes

Jodi Benenson, Erika Moldow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This article explores how student philanthropy course activities influence student understanding of philanthropy and the likelihood of engaging in civic activities. Data came from 1,628 students participating in the Pay It Forward student philanthropy initiative. Multivariate regression analyses reveal that having direct contact with nonprofits, doing research into an issue area, assisting in writing grant proposals on behalf of organizations, serving as group leader or co-leader, and investing a large percentage of class time in the philanthropy project are activities that most strongly predict student confidence in philanthropic skills, abilities, and knowledge. We also find that a high level of engagement (i.e., making important decisions, developing ideas, having responsibilities) is more significant than any single course activity in predicting student confidence and shifting philanthropic, volunteer, and work plans. Finally, we find that student philanthropy course activities have less of an effect on students who have previously participated in philanthropic activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-902
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Public Affairs Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Student philanthropy
  • experiential learning
  • service learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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