IES 103 class group picture with Alisa Driscoll (MLD ’19, left) and Friendly Center Executive Director Cathy Seelig (centered behind the check)
Panther Experiential Philanthropy Project

» Panther Experiential Philanthropy Project (PEPP)

The Panther Experiential Philanthropy Project (PEPP) is an innovative new program at Chapman University aiming to connect students to community problems, needs, and local solutions. By providing classes grants of up to $2,000, students become grant makers, funding nonprofit organizations addressing challenges aligned with the course’s learning outcomes.

Experiential philanthropy is still emergent and Chapman is one of only a few universities in Southern California engaging in this work. Initial experiential philanthropy research suggests that participants express an increased sense of responsibility to their community, a deeper understanding of local issues, and a higher level of desire to participate in charitable endeavors both through philanthropy and volunteering.

PEPP offers a unique, proactive opportunity to address some of the most urgent issues facing Orange County communities and nonprofits. We believe that when teaching young people about giving back, the possibilities are limitless and anything is imaginable.



  • Program Goals
  • Courses and Faculty
  • Funded Nonprofits
  • Testimonials
  • Press
  • Contact
  • PEPP has six program goals, or student participant learning outcomes. These are holistic in nature and serve to address the individuality of the student, prepare them for the workplace, and promote active civic and community engagement.

    1. Promote a “Learn by Giving” Approach: By giving, or engaging in philanthropy, through course programming students are developing tools that cannot, and should not, be learned in the classroom alone.
    2. Foster Meaningful Community Engagement: By actively participating in PEPP, students will learn what community organizations are working to solve social problems and will be encouraged to take action in surrounding causes that are important to them beyond the PEPP experience.
    3. Encourage Transferable Skill Development: PEPP courses allow students to develop and utilize skills that are important in many of today’s jobs and volunteer opportunities, such as critical thinking skills and persuasive communication strategies.
    4. Build a Pipeline of Next-Gen Donors: Through PEPP, we aim to inspire students to give financially, at any level, as soon as they are able and throughout their lifetimes.
    5. Increase Awareness of Social Issues: By researching local nonprofit organizations and talking with their knowledgeable staff, students develop a deeper awareness of the sorts of issues people are addressing every day in our neighborhoods.
    6. Grow Professional Networks: Leveraging connections with community members and nonprofit organization staff who they may not have encountered otherwise could lead to future employment or volunteer options—including working in the nonprofit and community-based sectors.
  • Participating PEPP Courses:

    • IES 103 - Philosophy of Helping
    • IES 315 - Non-Governmental Organizations: Policy and Practice
    • MLD 668 - Leadership for Emerging Social Issues
    • ENV 350 - Corporate Sustainability Management

    Participating PEPP Faculty:

  • PEPP Funded Nonpofits

    Organization Program/Project  Amount Semester
    Friendly Center Computer lab for homework help $2,000 Spring 2019
    Orangewood Children's Center Refurbish art room for youth in foster care $1,000 Fall 2019
    Mary's Kitchen Bicycles for the homeless $1,000 Fall 2019
    Casa Teresa Baby care items for at-risk mothers $500 Fall 2019
    Higher Ground Youth and Family Services Program for human trafficking survivors $500 Fall 2019
    Orangewood Foundation Assistance for current and former foster youth $1,000 Spring 2020
    Grandma's House of Hope Emergency COVID-19 food distribution   $1,000 Spring 2020
    Cell Dogs, Inc. Support for dog rescue that utilizes incarcerated individuals for training $1,000 Spring 2020
    Forever Footprints Services for those who have suffered the loss of an infant $1,000 Spring 2020
    Ronald McDonald House Orange County Supplies for taking care of families while a child is in receiving care at CHOC $1,000 Spring 2020
    Waste Not OC Food distribution program $1,000 Spring 2020
    Together We Rise Resources for children in the foster care system $1,500 Fall 2020
    G.R.E.E.N. Foundation Health care access for families $1,500 Fall 2020
    Intersectional Environmentalist Dismantling oppression in the environmentalist movement $2,000 Fall 2020
    OC Justice Project Encouraging youth to make change in society $2,000 Fall 2020
    Project Kinship Provides services for the reentry population  $2,000 Spring 2021
    C.C.R.P.A Protects and preserves cultural resources $1,000 Spring 2021
    A Quarter Blue  Interrupts the cycle of victimization of trauma survivors $1,000 Spring 2021
    Operation Warm Wishes Food pantry to support shelter, food and emergency resources $1,000 Spring 2021
    Mariposa Counseling center for women and families $1,000 Spring 2021



  • Students

    "Participating in the PEPP Program at Chapman University was one of the most meaningful ways I’ve been able to engage with and support my community as a student. It was the highlight of my Emerging Social Issues class to learn about the great work that’s being done by various organizations and then come together as a class to award funds in support of their missions. Seeing the non-profit my group chose to work with be presented with a check and knowing it would have a positive impact on their work was an incredibly proud moment for me and my classmates. I’m excited to see PEPP grow at Chapman, and think every university should have an initiative like this!" -Nicole Schmidt, M.A. '21

    Chapman Faculty

    "PEPP provided our Master's students with opportunities to engage in meaningful advocacy and research by partnering with community organizations. Through their participation in PEPP, each student was able to use their work and voice to raise awareness of the important work and influence of the amazing organizations with which they partnered. The assignments that students completed through their participation in PEPP, including interviews with leaders, grant writing, and research papers and presentations, emboldened them to operationalize the socially just mores of the Master of Arts in Leadership Development program." - Dr. Angel Miles Nash

    "What a positive impact this project had on the students in IES 103! Throughout the semester, Dr. Whitney McIntyre Miller and Alisa Driscoll supported the students in exploring local non-profit organizations. This project wasn’t just about students gaining new knowledge; the main benefits seemed to come from students engaging with a local community organization, finding a specific need within the organization, and then presenting that information in a passionate way to their classmates. There was a sense that this project mattered. I'd like to think that the students’ knowledge and compassion were deepened and enriched by the work they completed on this project. The Panther Experiential Philanthropy Project was challenging, engaging, and meaningful." - Jody Brown

    Community Partners

    "Ronald McDonald House Orange County is so honored to have participated in Chapman University’s Panther Experiential Philanthropy Project (PEPP). One of the major challenges our organization faces is lack of brand understanding. Many people might be familiar with our name but few know what we do. This program not only allowed us to tell our story to the select students assigned to our organization, but we were delighted to hear them so accurately share our story with other students. What a great learning opportunity you provide these young adults! I wish I participated in something similar. The award at the end of the course was a pleasant surprise and very much appreciated. Many people don’t know that our charity is funded primarily by community support. Thanks for supporting our mission of providing care, comfort, and support to families with seriously-ill children." -Noel Burcelis, MSW, Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House Orange County

    "Forever Footprints was incredibly honored to receive Chapman’s PEPP award. I was touched by the compassion the students showed to our cause. Although the students didn’t know I was a Chapman alumni when they chose our nonprofit organization, I felt an instant bond to these hardworking students. For the students to really feel the impact of an award like this is so valuable and something I know they will take with them as they go into the world and do amazing things. I couldn’t be more proud for Forever Footprints to have been given this award, and I couldn’t be more proud to be an alumni of Chapman University." - Kristyn von Rotz, Executive Director, Forever Footprints

    "The Chapman students that we worked with could not have been more engaging and invested in bettering their own community and in supporting our efforts. We feel blessed for being a Chapman PEPP award winner but mostly we were blessed by working with a student team that sincerely and passionately wanted to understand how they could contribute their talents meaningfully and be a part of a solution towards ending hunger and reducing landfill waste. Thank you Chapman University for this program and for the opportunity to work with your students!" - Tim Surridge, Outreach Coordinator, Waste Not OC

    "Orangewood Foundation is so grateful for Chapmans PEPP award. Our mentoring program is 100% privately funded. So this award makes us running our mentor program a reality. Furthermore to see Chapman encourage philanthropy and teach about the impact it can have is phenomenal. Then to give the students a real chance to practice philanthropy is even more amazing. I wish I had a program like this when I was in school. I have no doubt these students will continue to practice and walk out these valuable lessons they are learning at Chapman!" -Shane Panther, Coordinator of Mentoring Services, Orangewood Foundation

    "Thank you so much for awarding us the PEPP grant! And more importantly, thank you for looking to the future and running such an important program at Chapman - teaching your bright students how to make a meaningful difference will not only further their education, it will hopefully change our community for the better! We are all living days that none of us could have imagined not so long ago. While times are uncertain, Cell Dogs is experiencing challenges in moving our programs forward and getting our graduates adopted so this grant could not have come at a better time. We look forward to seeing great things from your students!" -Janette Thomas, Executive Director, Cell Dogs Inc.


  • Alisa Driscoll, M.A.`19
    PEPP Administrative Director
    Office of Community Relations
    (714) 289-2098 

    Whitney McIntyre Miller, Ph.D.
    PEPP Faculty Director 
    Attallah College of Educational Studies
    (714) 744-2134