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UW’s Ethics Club Invests in Local Nonprofits Through SparkTank Initiative

May 6, 2022

A University of Wyoming student group recently awarded $115,000 to four Laramie community nonprofit organizations.

Last fall, UW Ethics Club members selected four finalists from a pool of 20 local nonprofits to participate in SparkTank 2022. To be eligible, organizations must provide essential needs such as food, shelter, safety, education, clothing or health care.

Finalists were selected based on their missions, community impact, adherence to the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Principles and proposed use of funding.

This year’s finalists were Albany County SAFE Project, Cathedral Home, Healthy Kids Rx and My Front Door. Ethics Club members researched and made site visits to the four nonprofits before the competition.

The finalists were vying for a share of the money raised by the Ethics Club, UW sales seminar students and the UW Foundation. Ethics Club members have invested a total of $240,000 in local nonprofits since 2018.

“Dr. Molly Burchett’s sales seminar students did an amazing job this spring,” says Kent Noble, the Ethics Club’s adviser and UW’s Bill Daniels Chair of Business Ethics. “Their commitment to the cause allowed us to invest much more in our nonprofit partners than we have in the past.”

Following the finalists’ presentations, Ethics Club members deliberated, ranked the organizations and allocated the funding.

“As you would expect from our students, their discussions were intelligent, insightful and considerate,” Noble says.

Funds were invested as follows:

-- My Front Door, $45,000.

-- Albany County SAFE Project, $35,000.

-- Cathedral Home, $20,000.

-- Healthy Kids Rx, $15,000.

“I think it’s easy to become fixated on the dollar amount we raised. In reality, the organizations and people behind every dollar saw the need and rallied to fulfill it, making SparkTank truly special,” says Ethics Club Vice President Colton Drury, of Laramie.

The purpose of UW’s SparkTank initiative is to provide the “spark” that helps local nonprofits fulfill their missions and to “spark” a sense of community service within Wyoming’s next generation of business and community leaders, Noble says.

“SparkTank is all about being a part of something bigger than oneself,” says Ethics Club President Tucker Norman, of Pine Bluffs. “When you see the impact you can have in the community by being a part of a group that cares for the advancement and the well-being of the community and its members, it is inspiring and life-changing.”

Major supporters of SparkTank include the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, OtterBox, the Scarlett Family Foundation, Tom and Dianne Honig, the Associated Students of UW, Walmart, Scott and Heather Neu, Kathryn and Dan Blaney, the Martin Family Foundation and ATBS. In total, 240 individuals and organizations committed resources to make SparkTank possible, Noble says.

To learn more about SparkTank, visit www.uwsparktank.org/.

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