Skip to main content

John V. Roach Honors College


Main Content

“Imagine you’re a foundation, and you have over $100,000 to give away.” 

This is the difficult task Dean Ron Pitcock, Ph.D., bestows upon students in his “Nature of Giving” course. The class was founded after a local philanthropist wanted to teach students the ethics of philanthropy by giving them a first-hand opportunity to experience the difficulty of giving well.

Nature of Giving class, holding large donation checks destined for non-profit organizations

This year, the class crossed the $1.2 million gift mark during its 11-year lifetime.  In this time, the pioneering course was added at multiple universities across the nation, such as Stanford, Vanderbilt, Harvard, Notre Dame and many others.

The students operated the course as a philanthropic foundation. They diligently researched over 100 nonprofits before deciding which Tarrant County organizations to gift their funds to. Week after week, the students dove deeper into the organizations’ merits and ethics. They then meet with philanthropists within the Honors community to learn how they give and why, and the class was visited by Kansas City middle schoolers from whom they gathered insights that spanned generations and with whom they shared their $10 giving exercise.

It was up to the class to decide what values their foundation would look for in its award recipients. While narrowing down the number of nonprofits under consideration, the class ultimately wanted to give to organizations who accepted responsibility and served with compassion, effectiveness, clear values, a high degree of empathy, well-defined motivation and strong organization. After over ten hours of debate, students selected five nonprofits and the amounts to be gifted to each organization.

Class gathers after a 10-hour debate, smiling and giving the Go Frogs hand sign
Class gathered in the Debate Chamber


On Thursday, May 4, the annual Giving Ceremony took place where students gifted funds to representatives of those organizations. The organizations were: 

  • Families to Freedom assists in the safe transport of victims of domestic abuse. ($15,000) 
  • Gill Children's Services provides last-resort funding for Tarrant County children whose medical, dental, physical, social, psychological or educational needs have not been met by other community resources. ($35,000)
  • The Net Fort Worth addresses sex trafficking and exploitation and supports survivors. ($30,000)
  • The WARM Place provides grief support services to children and their families and young adults who have experienced the death of a loved one. ($25,000)
  • SafeHaven of Tarrant County is the only state-designated family violence center in Tarrant County and provides 24-hour emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling for survivors and their children, case management and legal support. ($20,000) 
Three students present a large display check to one of their charity recipients
Five students hold up one of the large display checks
Another group of five students hold up a large display check


The John V. Roach Honors College would like to express gratitude toward its generous donors who make this course possible and who provided not only every dollar awarded by the class but also believed in the potential of Honor students to make wise, thoughtful decisions. 

Students seated, smiling, along one side of the Debate Chamber
One row of students, seated in the Debate Chamber, wearing business attire