University of Maryland launches transformative initiative to “Do Good”

Nation's first "Do Good campus" to drive social innovation and a mission of service

The University of Maryland has launched an ambitious ‘Do Good’ Initiative to create a permanent and visible entity on campus that will become a hub of activity for philanthropy, nonprofit management, public policy, social change and leadership.

A campus-wide initiative headquartered in the School of Public Policy, the program aims to leverage philanthropy and leadership to transform idealism to impact through rich learning experiences built on real-world application.

This cross-campus initiative launches the Do Good Institute to train the next generation of Do Good leaders and establish the University as the first Do Good college campus in the country.

Support for Do Good programs is expected to top $75 million from individual and family philanthropy, state funding, corporate and foundation grants, and university resources.

“The ‘Do Good’ Initiative establishes the University of Maryland as a global leader in advancing social change, philanthropy and nonprofit leadership,” said President Wallace D. Loh. “We believe that our ‘Do Good campus’ will lead to a ‘Do Good world,’ where we will have a positive impact on all of the world’s citizens.”

The ‘Do Good’ Initiative includes support for:

  • The new Do Good Institute to serve as the campus-wide hub of social innovation and as a center of research and thought leadership in philanthropy and social change. From orientation to graduation, the Do Good Institute will engage the entire student body in initiatives aimed at ensuring every student will be informed and motivated to “do good” in their communities, both local and worldwide;
  • The new Do Good Accelerator to provide promising Do Good ventures (projects, nonprofits, businesses) with leadership coaching and mentoring, creative community space, networking opportunities, financial support and educational training;
  • Three new faculty endowments to contribute research and further support the School’s new undergraduate major in Public Policy and proposed Nonprofit and Social Change Leadership minor and focus;
  • A new headquarters building for the School of Public Policy and the Do Good Institute.

“This effort builds on the amazing success and impact of the School of Public Policy and its Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership and Do Good Challenge,” said Robert Orr, Dean of UMD’s School of Public Policy. “We are now expanding our programming and outreach to every UMD student in every school and college within our campus.”

Demonstrating the potential of UMD’s scaled-up Do Good Initiative, recent Do Good students have:

  • Sparked a national student movement and new public policies to address food waste through the Food Recovery Network (FRN), which started at UMD and has grown into an award-winning nonprofit headquartered in Maryland with 191 college campus chapters and 1.4 million pounds of food recovered;
  • Raised $100,000+; built multiple schools and developed a long-term partnership between the university and communities in Honduras through UMD’s Students Helping Honduras;
  • Developed the company Hungry Harvest that sells “ugly produce,” is headquartered in Maryland, and earned a $100,000 investment on ABC’s Shark Tank (January 2016);
  • Created Terps Against Hunger, which is mobilizing over a thousand UMD students to package and deliver over one million meals to local food bank partners this year.

“The Do Good Institute will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world,” said Robert Grimm, Director of the Do Good Institute. “We are reinventing the college experience by producing a new Do Good Generation that will produce transformational results in Maryland and around the world.”

The Higher Education Research Institute recently reported a fifty-year high in the percentage of students today who say that helping others is a “very important” priority. The “Do Good” Initiative is built on the tenet that learning is not a passive activity, but instead requires active participation and deep, practical application. With this core value, this effort will help develop the next generation of leaders and spur innovation both on campus and throughout our communities.

Laura Ascione