course participants


classes offered

University of Washington Grant Map

UniversityCourseStudents Enrolled
University of WashingtonSpring 2018Social Justice through PhilanthropyDepartments: Law, Societies and JusticeStephen Meyers25 students
University of WashingtonWinter 2019Social Justice through PhilanthropyDepartments: Law, Societies and JusticeStephen Meyers25 students
University of WashingtonWinter 2020Social Justice through PhilanthropyDepartments: Law, Society and JusticeStephen Meyers25 students

Social Justice through Philanthropy
Taught by Stephen Meyers
Department of Law, Society & Justice

Stephen Meyers is the Director of the Center for Global Studies and Associate Professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Law, Societies, and Justice and at the Jackson School of International Studies. He is also Core Faculty in Disability Studies. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, he worked for an international, non-governmental organization supporting landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities in Central America and Africa and has since worked as a consultant for other non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies on issues of disability inclusion.


Professor Meyers’ research focuses on grassroots associations of persons with disabilities and older persons working at the local level in low-resource settings. His latest book Civilizing Disability Society: The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities socializing disabled persons organizations in Nicaragua (2019) looks at the unintended consequences of human rights for local organizations. He has also co-authored two global studies for UN Agencies: Youth with Disabilities: Global study on ending gender-based violence and realizing sexual and reproductive health and rights (UNFPA, 2018) and UNESCO.2021. “Every Child Should Be Welcome”: School violence and bullying involving young people with disabilities (UNESCO, 2021). His newest book project for University of California Press is What is Global Disability Studies? which argues that Disability Studies, which developed in the West, must be rethought for understanding the global diversity of the disability experience around the world.

Class has a global focus:

  • “Global Giving” theme that supports human rights, international development, and humanitarian assistance activities.
  • Class has to give to Seattle based orgs implementing projects around the globe.

Class works with group called Global Washington

  • Network of NGOs, businesses, foundations, academics, etc
  • Mission is to support the global development community in Washington
  • Class takes 22 issue areas from Global Washington and narrows it down to 5 to focus on, then creates their own small groups
  • Class solicits proposals from and ultimately awards funding to orgs that are a part of Global Washington

Interesting Grant Making Process:

  • Students pick 5 issue areas
  • Each group researches their issue area and GW orgs
  • Each group solicits proposals from GW orgs
  • GW orgs COME TO CLASS and present projects to students – takes ups 4 classes (instead of site visit)
  • Students evaluate projects
  • Each group presents to class to give their recommendations for which GW orgs to fund
  • Class makes final allocations during “Decision Day”

Students in each group have a specific role:

  • Team manager
  • Writing leader
  • Presentation leader
  • Scheduler
  • Note taker

Guest Speakers

  • Kristen Dailey – Global Washington
  • Giving Philosophy panel (donors to UWash explaining their giving)
  • Representatives from Global Washington orgs


Latest News

September 14, 2020


Student Testimonials

I enjoyed the hands-on approach that this class offers. It was very interesting to hear from the different organizations and actually interact with them in person. It was also a very unique experience because through our analyzing and decision-making, we were able to make such a great impact with the grant money, which is opportunity that is not offered in any other class!

Mithali SavanthUniversity of Washington

My understanding of development on a global scale has changed because I now am able to understand how to fully analyze methods that organizations present. I used to believe that any kind of giving was good and would make a great impact, but from this class I am able to see that analyzing the different methods is important in order to understand which is the most effective. This has been one of my favorite classes at the University of Washington. The thing I enjoyed the most about the class was having the organizations come to our class. Being able to see many different types of presentation and ideas of how people believe would be the best way to make an impact on the world was very interesting.

Ardita AdiliUniversity of Washington

I have had an overall amazing class experience. The readings have helped shed light on important issues which most donors to aid agencies would never consider. Additionally, our hands-on approach to philanthropy by reviewing the presentations of several NGOs and then presenting on which one we believe is the best is a great way to get students involved in giving.

Ben MacleanUniversity of Washington

I loved this class. It gave us an incredible, hands-on, once in a life time experience. I loved hearing and interacting with all the NGO's, I loved learning about the flaws and strengths of international giving, and I loved learning how to analyze giving from the perspective of someone who was giving the grant. It offered a very unique perspective and made me personally feel like I had a much more in-depth understanding
of philanthropy.

Rebecca AndrewsUniversity of Washington