Philanthropy Efforts

We are bigger than ourselves.

Understanding that our alumni are purpose-driven individuals, we'd like to fill this space with brief stories of how Night Owl's give of themselves to causes that they feel called to. Some philanthropic efforts may align with your chosen career path - while others might stem from childhood passions or supporting organizations who have been impactful in your life.  Maybe you've started a non-profit yourself to support a need and bring awareness to an issue.  Let's share what is going on in the lives and communities we belong to.

How One Idea Can Change a Community

No matter how we choose to live our lives, our actions and decisions affect others. Our experiences with the world often direct our path or redirect our plans.

Alexander Wright has witnessed many social injustices – but a few of them were impetus moments that shaped his life. They have molded the work he does in this world.  

Posted on 3/24/2017
Changing Hats for Education

Phyllis reached out to her alma mater to explain a community effort she and her husband have built around college preparedness. Once we spoke to her, we realized how interesting she truly was.

Named Teach of the Year by her peers in 2016, but also as an honorer-of-heritage, Phyllis is a woman who wears many hats - both literally and metaphorically.

The biggest hat is a teacher commitment called looping. She explains what looping is and how it has benefited her students and her school.

Read her story and see just how infused education is into the fibers of her life.

Posted on 1/27/2017
Double-Grad Earns President's Call to Service Award
Double-Grad Earns President's Call to Service Award

Geoffrey Franklin, who has earned a B.S. in Information Technology and an MBA in I.T. Management - both from WGU, has also given over 4,000 certified volunteer hours to the community and  has been recognized by President Barack Obama with the President;s Call to Service Award.  "Thank you for helping to address the most pressing needs in your community and our country," President Obama wrote in a congratulatory letter to Franklin.  "Thank you for your devotion to service and for doing all you can to shape a better tomorrow for our great nation."

Geoffrey volunteered with several local organizations over the past few years, such as the Community Emergency Response Team, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, and the American Red Cross.  Established in 2003, the President's Volunteer Service Award is available on an annual basis to individuals, groups and families who have met or exceeded requirements for volunteer service and have demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering.  The award is one for volunteer service that every American - from every age and walk of life - can aspire to achieve.

"The recipients of the President's Volunteer Service Award are role models for all Americans," Franklin said.  "Each hour contributed makes a difference in improving the quality of life for others, and I encourage everyone to contribute to our community by volunteering.  Volunteers bring us closer together as families, as communities, and as a nation, through their commitment."  For more information about how to qualify, visit  "This is an amazing honor, an achievement I am quite proud of," said Franklin with a smile, "I can't wait to volunteer for another four thousand hours."

Posted on 5/10/2016
A Dream Coming True - through Education
A Dream Coming True - through Education

Richard Gyebi hasn't completed his dream just yet - but he did recently get reenergized to pursue that dream to completion.

He is one of the many to receive 'A New Kind of You' Scholarship from WGU.  After he completes his MBA in IT Management, he says, "There is nothing stopping me from achieving my dreams."

His dream is to see better lives for children in Africa.  He wants to begin a non-profit organization that will give those kids access to computers.  Until recently the organization was only an idea, but now Richard says he has the motivation to turn his dream into a reality.

WGU alumni will follow-up with Richard after he completes his master's to hear how he plans to start this non-profit, and how he sees his degree playing a role in his success...

Posted on 4/8/2016
Coordinates Community Crisis Line Following Tragedy in Oregon
Coordinates Community Crisis Line Following Tragedy in Oregon

In the aftermath of the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, on October 1, 2015, UCC alum and WGU Night Owl D'Dee Hopkins coordinated and managed a crisis hotline for the local community.

Following the tragic events in Roseburg, she felt compelled to support her community and met with the chief marketing officer of Architrave Physician Services to coordinate the hotline.  She gathered volunteers from different clinics in the area and remained on-call for 72 hours to provide psychological and physical hep to anyone in need both by phone and in person.  Months later, the calls still trickled in, and D'Dee continued to support residents in finding appropriate services.

WGU's online, competency-based model has made it possible for her to accomplish her career goals, work in a field that she loves, provide extra support to her family, and give back to the school and community that launched her career.  When a free moment presents itself, D'Dee is most likely to be found in a pool or in open water teaching scuba-diving lessons with her husband.

Posted on 12/21/2015
Jeff Solheim - Project Helping Hands

Jeff Solheim, MSN, RN, CEN, TCRN CFRN, FAEN - He's the CEO of Solheim Enterprises, and Executive Director & Founder of Project Helping Hands, a 501(c) non-profit, sending medical teams to worldwide regions of extreme poverty.

Jeff is an acclaimed nursing educator, an entrepreneur, and a motivation speaker - telling his stories from service around the world. 

If you are a healthcare professional interested in participating with Project Helping Hands, take a look at the details.

Posted on 12/2/2014

Refer a Friend

Spread the word and refer your friends, family and coworkers to WGU.  We offer reward options for you and a free application for your referrals!  What a great way to be paid for paying it forward.