Washburn Leadership Students Partner with United Way to Award $10,000

Washburn Leadership Students Partner with United Way to Award $10,000

 Annual Aleshire Grant allows students to learn philanthropy from the ground up, benefits nonprofits

Dec. 9, 2022, Topeka, Kan.— Washburn leadership students presented early education grants worth $10,000 to three Shawnee County nonprofits today.

Thanks to the generosity of two longtime United Way leadership donors, Joe and Janet Aleshire, United Way gets to partner with Washburn University on a unique experience to teach students about grant-making and philanthropy in their adopted community of Topeka and Shawnee County.

LE 300 students with UWKV CEO Jessica Lehnherr and Joe and Janet Aleshire

At the December 9 check presentation hosted by the Capper Foundation

This year, the students awarded grants to Capper Foundation (which hosted the check presentations), Kansas Children’s Discovery Center and Kansas Children’s Service League.

The Aleshires provide the dollars, but students in Washburn’s LE300 Leadership Institute class do the work. And it all benefits early childhood development.

Under the guidance of the Aleshires and United Way CEO Jessica Lehnherr, the students are responsible for writing a Request for Proposal to solicit grant applications from area agencies. Upon receiving applications, students are then responsible for reviewing and ranking each application and coming to consensus before making an investment recommendation to the United Way board.

This year’s LE 300 students are:

  • Mia Albert
    Junior political science major from Wichita
  • Kayla Beyer
    Junior psychology major from Ogden
  • Cameron Billquist
    Sophomore legal studies major from Leavenworth
  • Philip Canady
    Senior business major from Topeka
  • Chloe Chaffin
    Junior political science and secondary English education major from Olathe
  • Trinity Cooper
    Senior marketing major from Wichita
  • Graycn Evans
    Senior finance/marketing major from Manhattan
  • Abby Fette
    Junior pre-med major from Kansas City
  • Ellynor George
    Sophomore secondary education/math major from Topeka
  • Dyan Grospitch
    Junior Sociology major from Topeka
  • Hannah Mumpower
    Junior radiologic technology/medical imaging major from Maple Hill
  • Lily Thompson
    Junior psychology major from Lawrence

Washburn LE 300 students take a group photo with UWKV's Brett Martin at the Bishop Center in Topeka

LE 300 students with UWKV Vice President of Community Impact and LE300 mentor Brett Martin after the students presented their Aleshire Grant funding recommendations to the UWKV board at its December meeting.

Now in its second decade, the Aleshire Grant partnership continues to foster community leadership and quantifiable  learning outcomes.

Leadership Institute Director Lauren Edelman said, “The Leadership Institute’s partnership with the United Way and with Joe and Janet Aleshire is such a unique and transformational opportunity for students to learn about philanthropy and service while they work to make a tangible difference in our community. As a result of this work, students not only grant real dollars to address a community need, but they learn how to be good stewards of donor dollars and to make smart investment decisions. I’m so proud of the work they did this semester and the growth they demonstrated through the process.”


About United Way of Kaw Valley

In September 2022, United Way of Douglas County merged with United Way of Greater Topeka to form United Way of Kaw Valley (UWKV). UWKV serves as a grant maker, community convenor, volunteer organizer and strategic partner for the nonprofit sector in Shawnee, Douglas, Jackson and Jefferson counties in northeast Kansas. Donor dollars are invested locally and support a broad range of initiatives that benefit the whole family in education, financial stability and health, as well as racial equity and family supports/basic needs.