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The Philanthropy Requirement

A Student Organization's funding through the SBA is contingent upon completing a Philanthropy Project during each academic year. There are many ways to fulfill this requirement.

All student organizations MUST perform at least one Philanthropy Project through the course of each academic year. Any organization that does not fulfill this requirement will be denied funding from the SBA for the following year.

"Philanthropy Project" means any community service, or other event that is:

(a) Approved by:

    1. A majority vote of the Student Affairs Committee of the Student Bar Association OR
    2. If denied by the Student Bar Association, approval of the Dean of Students

(b) AND involves the participation of at least 50% of your organization's active membership

PLEASE NOTE: Philanthropy projects should not interfere with classroom time. Any in-class project, such as collecting money during class or using canned food donations to take a 'pass' when called on, may only be approved with the express consent of the Dean of Students after consulting with the faculty.

Philanthropy FAQ:

Q: What is the SBA's definition of "community"?

A: "Community" means any individual or group outside of the Earle Mack School of Law, or some other meaning as the Student Affairs Committee may decide. Any proposed Philanthropy project that is designed to benefit an individual or organization from within the school may be approved at the discretion of the Student Affairs Committee.

Q: What is the SBA's definition of "service" and "event"?

A: "Service" or "event" may include, but is not limited to, fundraising or donations of money, time, or some other meaning as the Student Affairs Committee may decide.

Q: What is "active" membership?

A: Active membership generally refers to the members of your organization who participate in meetings and the general administration of your organization. This term does not merely refer to every student who is on your email distribution list.

Q: What happens if the Student Affairs Committee votes against approving our Project?

A: The Student Affairs Committee will consult with appropriate law school administrators, and defer to the ultimate decision of the Dean of Students. A representative from the student organization will be permitted to speak in support of its project.

Q: How do we budget for our Philanthropy Project?

A: Each organization will be required to have a full accounting of how it spends SBA funds on its Philanthropy Project and should include spending estimates in its annual budget.

Q: What can/can't SBA pay for?

A: Student organizations MAY use SBA-approved funds for things like organization meetings (i.e. food), advertising, and other supplies necessarily related to carrying out the Philanthropy Project. Student organizations should use their discretion in what is necessarily related to their project. SBA funds MAY NOT be used to as contributions to the Philanthropy Project. For example, if you are running a toy drive, you may not use SBA money to buy toys to donate. If a Philanthropy Project involves selling merchandise in order to raise money for a philanthropic cause, the organization may use part of its pre-approved budget (up to $250) on a temporary basis in order to pay for up-front costs of merchandise. This expenditure must be reimbursed into the organization's budget after the Project is completed, and remaining profits must be donated to the Project's cause. The organization must inform buyers of merchandise, both verbally and on all publicity materials, that 'a portion of the profits' will go to the philanthropic cause.

Q: Can a project qualify both as a Philanthropy Project and a Pro-Bono Project?

A: Generally, yes. Student organizations are encouraged, but not required, to create their own Pro Bono projects. All Pro Bono projects must be created in consultation with the School of Law Pro Bono Program Director. The Director will determine how many Pro Bono credit hours individual students receive. The SBA is not involved in awarding Pro Bono credit. A student organization that creates a bona fide Pro Bono project with the approval of the Pro Bono Program Director may consider their project as fulfilling the Philanthropy requirement, but must receive approval from the SBA before the event occurs in order to count the hours as Philanthropy.

Some student organizations have ongoing Pro Bono programs. These projects will continue to count as fulfilling the Philanthropy requirement as long as 50% of the organization's membership continues to participate, but questions of how SBA funds are used in regards to these programs will be handled on a case-by-case basis and with the input of the Pro Bono Program Director. The organization must resubmit the Philanthropy Approval Request each year.

If you have any questions regarding the Philanthropy Requirement, please contact the VP of Student Affairs at emsol.sba@gmail.com.