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Sean MacDonald

Sean MacDonald

Courses in Giving

May 7, 2014 — 

Sean MacDonald’s undergraduate Leadership course is giving Asper BComm students a unique opportunity to lead fundraising initiatives of their own.

“Giving back to the community is a vital component of strong leadership,” MacDonald says. “As future business leaders, our students are expected to contribute back to a society that is contributing to their development.”

In class, students study the qualities and techniques of famous leaders. They meet leaders in journalism, sports, health care, philanthropy and spirituality.

Then, they divide into groups of five and identify charitable causes they wish to support in a final fundraising project. Often they choose local charities such as CancerCare Manitoba, Siloam Mission, Winnipeg Harvest and the Christmas Cheer Board.

How they raise funds is up to them. “I’ve seen everything from bake sales and socials to more inventive approaches, like a tea sale, a dodge ball tournament, kickboxing lessons and a dating game,” MacDonald says. “One of the most successful fundraisers was a Videogame Olympics. Even when some events don’t succeed, the students have learned that everyone can make a difference.”

Nathan Greidanus challenges his students to raise money for charity in the final exam of his fourth-year Entrepreneurship course. Their task it to generate as much profit as possible in 30 minutes by selling small items such as pens, hats and bags of chips. Greidanus says students have turned $30 of initial products into as much as $360.

The students then vote on a charity to receive the proceeds. One year they chose an organization that built schools in Laos, and the other two years they chose Habitat for Humanity.

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