It started in January 2010 with a $10 bill.
In the five years since its inaugural spring semester, the 10-10-10 Foundation – launched out of Dr. Jean Wilcox’s Entrepreneurial Marketing course at the Fox School of Business – has seen more than 1,000 students raise in excess of $200,000 and help innumerable people and foundations in the Philadelphia area.
Each semester, Wilcox presents student teams in her course with $10 from her own pocket. Grouped into 10 teams, the students are tasked with multiplying this seed money by a factor of 10, to be donated to various charities, non-profits, foundations, and community organizations dedicated to anything from social works to education.
“Many of the students have incredibly powerful personal stories to tell and align their projects with organizations that they feel a connection to. That’s what makes this work,” said Wilcox, an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.
Among the organizations helped, Fox Students have worked with Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, in eight of 10 semesters since 10-10-10 began. Others have aligned with Philabundance food bank, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
For senior Marketing majors Jake Kawulicz and Nicole Borgia, Red Paw Relief Team was a natural fit. One of their team members was saved from a house fire by his pet. In pitching to the idea of raising funds for Red Paw, a non-profit organization that helps pets displaced by fire or disaster, the group decided it was an appropriate gesture to repay his dog’s act of kindness. The team organized a fundraising effort at Whole Foods, which contributed a five-cent donation each time customers used reusable bags to carry out their groceries, and in addition to a half-price promotion at the Draught Horse Pub and Grill, near Temple University’s campus.
“There’s a personal connection for us. It’s about giving back to something I love,” Borgia said.
Fundraising efforts are one part of students’ responsibilities toward building sustainable business plans for their chosen organizations. Others include maintaining careful financial records while engaging with the community on social media to promote their efforts.
The use of social-media platforms has allowed students who are working with Project Home to raise awareness for the 25-year-old organization, which empowers the homeless. With a comprehensive social-media marketing campaign, the group recruited volunteers whose hours equated to a $20 fundraising effort. The group also aimed to foster an intern exchange program with the Fox School.
“We wanted something local to Philadelphia that would allow us to have a lasting impact, as opposed to just giving money,” said Leigh McKenzie, a junior Management Information Systems major who worked with Project Home.
The Entrepreneurial Marketing course attracts a diverse student set, including senior Architecture major and Business minor Jenna Wandishin, and sophomore Marketing and Art History double major Laura Harris. Dual-enrolled in the Fox School and the Tyler School of Art, and inspired by this dichotomy, the students dedicated their group to inspiring inner-city artists through the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, an anti-graffiti program that supports public art.
“We wanted something with a cultural impact. The Mural Arts Program is unique to Philadelphia and enhances the city,” Wandishin said of Philadelphia, which boasts more murals than any other American city.
Wilcox has watched 10 semesters of students turn her $10 handouts into thousands of dollars. She said she appreciates the social impact the students have made. In particular, one group worked with Catalyst Foundation to fight sex trafficking in Vietnam by connecting with Asian-American organizations on Temple’s campus. Another team committed its efforts toward assisting wounded veterans upon their returns from Afghanistan.
“The best comment I ever got came from one of my colleagues, who said, ‘Business school is so much about analytics and numbers, and what you’re doing is giving these students heart,’” Wilcox said. “That’s most important to me in the long run.”