Familiar Tools Feed Renewed Enthusiasm for JOY

Jeff Kozaka at South Portland presentations-Mahoney

JMG Specialist Jeff Kozaka at left, and So. Portland’s Mahoney Middle School students attend a morning of presentations from nonprofits seeking JOY funding. Using school technology to revive the philanthropy research process, Mahoney improved both nonprofit and student enthusiasm.

The five-year milestone in the JOY program provided an opportunity for South Portland’s Mahoney Middle School Specialist, Jeff Kozaka, to review and align the philanthropy curriculum with other technology skills and goals being taught.  “I decided to upgrade the JOY curriculum to better incorporate more of the technology and tools students were using for research, and the social media that they use in all of their non-school time!” says Jeff.

The Mahoney students used their school-issued i pads to do a scavenger hunt on the JOY site that eventually led them to the page with all previous grantees listed for their review which truly broadened their understanding of the program’s reach. They took online surveys to assess where their philanthropic interests lie, and how they match with those of well-known celebrities.  The students then created fake Facebook pages for a chosen celebrity that focused on their interests and presented to the class.  The survey results were compiled so that the students could examine local nonprofits in their areas of interest. Each student then created yet another fake Facebook page for a specific organization to capture the mission and programs to compete for the JOY funding. Jeff filmed each student presenting his/her profile to the class and each class viewed each presentation.

Crafting professional emails and rfp solicitations also figured heavily into the JOY work and the fine tuning paid off. Within hours of sending out the rfp’s, students received replies from interested nonprofits and could respond to questions and coordinate volunteer opportunities.  Eventually, of the 11 organizations that received rfp’s, ten applied for a grant.

Re-vamping the JOY program with more familiar technology tools led to improved enthusiasm among the nonprofits and also helped refresh student investment into their philanthropy work.