Entrepreneur-in-residence at Kennesaw State business school teaches students the gift of giving

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MBA class to be given $25,000 to donate to selected charities

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug. 21, 2013) — Charitable giving is the focus of a new class this fall for business graduate students at Kennesaw State University’s Michael J. Coles College of Business.  But unlike other business school courses, this one involves the instructor’s own wallet.

Thomas Hughes, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Kennesaw State, is the instructor of Business of Philanthropy, a graduate-level class designed to help business leaders and entrepreneurs learn how to effectively manage philanthropic gifts. As part of the 15-week course, students are required to do extensive research on a charity or nonprofit. Hughes will then make $1,000 donations in each students’ name to their selected charities.

“Business leaders are the ones who have the most impact on charitable giving, and I want students to learn how to find a charity that they can identify with and decide what to give, whether it is time or money,” said Hughes. “More importantly, I want to teach students that it’s not only important to give but to stay in touch with the charity to find out how their donation is being used as intended and its impact.”

Hughes, an angel investor, senior executive and philanthropist who has given his own time, energy and financial support to a wide range of charitable organizations throughout the world, serves on a variety of boards, including the KSU Foundation. He said he was motivated to teach this course because he wanted to give his time and talent to teach a future generation of business leaders about the importance of philanthropy. 

Hughes has also invited a number of fellow philanthropists and top executives to join him at the lectern, includingDenis Brosnan, principal at YellowPark Garden; T. Fitz Johnson, partner at Georgetown Capital; Annika Ferris, partner and wealth advisor at Brightworth; Jack Harris, president for Junior Achievement of Georgia; Bob Prillaman, a trustee for the KSU Foundation; William Goff, vice chairman of LCC University; and Ruth Ann Harnisch, CEO of Harnisch Foundation, among others. 

According to Timothy Blumentritt, associate professor of management in the Coles College, the class is already full, populated with business leaders, nonprofit executives and members of boards affiliated with nonprofit organizations.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our students,” said Blumentritt, who will assist Hughes with the class.“What we will teach is far more than how to run a charity or how to have corporate responsibility. We are teaching individuals, who work or will work as business executives for a nonprofit or a corporation, how they can impact charitable giving as an individual.

“Performance in any organization means more than just making money,” explained Blumentritt. “Even nonprofits need to be able to run an organization that interacts, and follows through, with major donors  to be effective.”

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