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UW Ethics Club Supports Local Nonprofits Through SparkTank Initiative

May 2, 2023
two people holding an oversized check
Unaccompanied Students Initiative Executive Director Austin Rodemaker, left, and RJ Pino accept a $50,000 award from the student-led Ethics Club’s SparkTank, a philanthropic campaign that raises money throughout the year to help support local nonprofits. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming student-led Ethics Club awarded $158,000 to four area nonprofit organizations at a recent SparkTank event.

SparkTank is the UW Ethics Club’s philanthropic campaign to support local nonprofits. SparkTank “sparks” the mission of local nonprofits and enriches the college experience for UW students by showing them the power and personal growth brought on by leading philanthropic efforts.

“The impact that these organizations have on the Laramie community is immense,” says Ethics Club President Tucker Norman, of Pine Bluffs, about the winning organizations. “We are proud to support their missions through the SparkTank initiative, and we are excited to see the positive changes they will continue to bring.”

This year, UW Ethics Club members selected Unaccompanied Students Initiative, Climb Wyoming, Family Promise and Feeding Laramie Valley as the finalists from a competitive pool of local nonprofits. Each organization was chosen based on its mission, community impact, adherence to the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative principles and proposed use of funding.

Ethics Club Vice President Hayden Hassinger, of Cheyenne, praised the hard work and dedication of all participants.

“We are thrilled with the enthusiasm and innovative proposals presented by this year’s finalists,” Hassinger says. “It is inspiring to see the dedication and commitment they have toward making a difference in our community.”

The funds raised for this year’s SparkTank were distributed to:

-- Unaccompanied Students Initiative: $50,000. Unaccompanied Students Initiative provides safe, stable housing and develops support systems for youth ages 16-20 who are experiencing homelessness. 

-- Climb Wyoming: $45,000. Climb Wyoming helps low-income single mothers through career training and placement.

-- Family Promise: $38,000, Family Promise helps low-income families and those who are homeless achieve sustainable independence.

-- Feeding Laramie Valley: $25,000. Feeding Laramie Valley works for food security and an equitable, just and sustainable food system in Albany County.

“The Ethics Club members have once again demonstrated their commitment to fostering ethical business practices and supporting local nonprofits that address essential needs in our community,” says Kent Noble, the club’s adviser and Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Faculty Fellow in the College of Business. “We couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments and the difference they are making.”

UW Ethics Club is a recognized student organization that focuses on developing student character and conscience, as well as promoting ethical decision-making. The club provides a welcoming and intellectually stimulating environment for members to make friends, make a difference and enrich their college experiences.

Among major sponsors of this year’s SparkTank include American Truck Business Services, the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, the Scarlett Family Foundation and UniWyo Credit Union. The generous support of these organizations plays a crucial role in making SparkTank a success, Noble says.

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