Students Use Grant Money to Help Pomona Community
A College of Business Administration club has received more than $8,000 in grant money to improve the lives of Pomona-area residents and empower small businesses.
The grant money encompasses four different projects that must be completed before the end of the school year. It is an ambitious effort for the 18 members of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) but club President Misael Hernandez says they are up for the challenge.
“SIFE members share one common goal, which is to help people,” says Hernandez who is a finance student. “We’ve witnessed the economic situation and challenges in the Pomona community and feel we can alter some of the negative impact through the power of business.”
The Cal Poly Pomona chapter of SIFE is affiliated with the international organization of the same name. The group’s mission is to harness the power of business knowledge and ideas to make a difference in the community and create business leaders. The Cal Poly Pomona SIFE chapter consists of members from all business disciplines including accounting, marketing and management as well as students from the other Cal Poly Pomona colleges.
SIFE received its largest funding from the HSBC Financial Literacy Program. Students will work with small business owners from the Downtown Pomona Owners Association and help them implement accounting software and offer guidance on how to use it more effectively to manage their financial operations. Members also will conduct workshops for select high school students from The School of Arts and Enterprise (SAE) on how to create marketing plans. The high school students will use information from the SIFE workshop to collaborate with Downtown Pomona entrepreneurs on how to improve their digital, print and social media marketing efforts.
Approximately 37 collegiate chapters throughout the country were eligible to receive any type of funding for the HSBC grant. Judges from the grant committee were so impressed with Cal Poly Pomona’s proposal that they awarded the chapter its top grant award of $5,000.
“The unique combination of working directly with small businesses and working through teams of high school students was probably the major contributor to our winning the first place grant from HSBC,” says Management and Human Resources Professor Lynn Turner who also serves as SIFE’s club advisor. “We look forward to our work with SAE students and to forging new relationships with the businesses in downtown Pomona.”
SIFE also will use $1,500 of funding from the Walmart – Women’s Economic Empowerment grant to partner with a women’s shelter and offer career workshops that will focus on resume building, job interview preparation and tips for interview attire. Another $1,500 grant from Sam’s Club will enable students to help a small business improve its business practices. Although a business for 2012 has not been selected yet, last year members collaborated with Maria’s Tacos on Valley Boulevard. Students created a marketing campaign for the eatery and helped owners lower operating costs by installing water-efficient toilets, ultraviolet protective film for windows and energy efficient light bulbs.
The remaining $250 in grant money will support Campbell’s Let’s Can Hunger Challenge. Members plan to collect 5,000 pounds of canned goods and donate them to several Pomona food shelters in the spring. So far, club members and business students working with SIFE have collected 600 pounds and will continue to accept donations until April 12.
For more information on donating canned goods, please contact Joanna Ha at email@example.com.