Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Daniels MBA students give back with

It began as a simple idea batted around by University of Denver MBA students — a Web site that links young professionals with local nonprofits.

In October, the idea became a reality with the official launch of, an online network for Denver residents to learn about service opportunities at select nonprofits. The site even allows volunteers to sign up for opportunities that match their interests.

The site was created by MBA students Adam Post, Justin Raddatz, Kristin Reid and Blair Taylor as part of their coursework at the Daniels College of Business, which asks its students to create a project to raise social or fiscal capital that benefits the community.

“The idea was to find one social ‘gap,’ an area of the Denver community that would benefit from additional service and support, and to create a project that would raise awareness for this gap,” says Post, who graduates in August 2010.

The team’s research indicated many local nonprofits lack support from young professionals who are either busy developing their careers, unaware of service opportunities or lacking disposable income to support causes, Post says.

“We want to show young professionals that they have more to offer their communities than they realize,” he says. “Volunteering and participating in service initiatives is not just about donating money, it’s about interacting with community members and providing support to those in need.”

With advice from Amy Venturi, director of community relations for law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and Steve Sander, director of marketing for the city of Denver, the team identified four “community gaps” that affect Denver citizens: health and well being; homelessness and poverty; arts, culture and recreation; and youth education and mentoring.

They sent applications to around 70 Denver nonprofits that provide services that help fill those gaps. Eleven nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, Denver Rescue Mission, The Park People and Colorado Youth At Risk, were selected to participate.

Each organization has pledged to offer DenverKarma volunteers at least one volunteer opportunity per quarter and may advertise opportunities through the Web site.

“Each person who signs up is not required to participate in one activity per quarter, but we think it’s a fair and achievable goal for each individual to strive toward,” Post says. “We hope that many of the relationships connected through DenverKarma will be enduring.”

The Web site launched on Oct. 26 at an event emceed by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper at DU’s Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management building.

“DU’s curriculum and commitment to community engagement has reinforced a powerful attitude in all of our characters — that we are all part of something much greater than ourselves, and that we have the responsibility to develop the communities in which we live,” Post says. “We hope the relationships built with DenverKarma’s help will give other people the same enthusiasm for contribution to our Denver community.”

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