Students in Associate Professor Lori Cook’s project management class this summer learned the value of using their business skills to help others. While the experience was priceless, the monetary value of their work turned out to be more than $20,000—the amount students raised for nonprofits while practicing event planning, revenue projection and teamwork. The projects, completed for MGT 598 Project Management, benefited causes that ranged from wounded veterans and families facing illness or disability to homeless pets.

“The students truly were DePaul ambassadors this summer,” Cook says. “Words simply cannot describe how proud I am of the class.”

MBA student Kristin Justus called her experience raising money  for a local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society “fulfilling,” because “all proceeds went to a charity our team passionately supports... What a great culmination to our MBA degree.”

You can visit the course’s blog to read more reflections. Below is a short summary of the six teams and their projects.

Brunch for PAWS Chicago: Team 1 created a fundraising project to benefit PAWS Chicago, the city’s largest no-kill humane organization. The team organized a “Sunday Funday” brunch in July at State Bar & Grill in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. By charging attendees for brunch, offering items for auction and having a website where individuals could donate after the event, the team raised more than their initial revenue projection.

Online auction for the Jackson Chance Foundation: Team 2 worked with the Jackson Chance Foundation, which was started by Carrie Meghie, a mother that lost her son, Jackson, to a terminal illness in 2012. Among its programs, the foundation helps families of children in the neonatal intensive care unit pay parking and transportation costs associated with long hospital stays. The group sought to raise enough money to cover two months of parking and in fact raised nearly double that and secured an anonymous donation match.

Garage sale for Educational Assistance, Ltd.: Team 3 organized a garage sale in July in Rolling Meadows, Ill., to raise funds for Educational Assistance Ltd., a nonprofit organization that creates college scholarship for needy students from donated excess inventory. The team also solicited additional donations online. Much of the team’s work went into organizing items for donation, storing them and moving them to the final garage sale site. To promote the event, they advertised on Craigslist, in the local newspaper and through neighborhood signs.

Game day for the Greater Illinois Chapter of the National MS Society: Team 4 hosted a day of games and food at Dave & Busters in Addison, Ill., to support the Greater Illinois Chapter of the National MS Society. The team went door-to-door to businesses and sent emails to request donations for silent auction and raffle items, and also solicited online donations. At the event, team members spoke about the Illinois chapter and multiple sclerosis and showed a video about the charity. 

Restaurant partnership for Clearbrook: Team 5 created a “dine and donate” day to raise money for Clearbrook, Illinois’ largest provider of services, programs and support for children and adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other intellectual or developmental disabilities. The team created an online donation page and worked with Berry-Yo, a frozen yogurt restaurant in Arlington Heights, to have 10 percent of all sales from a single day go to Clearbrook. 

Fundraisers for War Dogs Making It Home: Team 6 aimed to raise awareness and funds for War Dogs Making It Home, a charity that rescues dogs from animal shelters and pairs them with veterans living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injury. The team created a fundraising website and hosted pop-up micro events near pet stores and vet offices near the 4th of July holiday. The team even garnered media attention from two local TV stations, NBC5 and Fox 32 News.