$500,000 Endowment Given to Capps Center


Aisa Villanueva

The Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life recently received a $500,000 endowment gift from Sara Miller McCune, a campus benefactor and a trustee of the UCSB Foundation.  This will help provide an additional and permanent source of income for the center, and the money the gift generates will be spent on undergraduate internship programs that are offered to UCSB students. In acknowledgment, the internship program will be named, “The Sara Miller McCune Internship and Public Service Program.”

The Capps Center was established to honor Walter H. Capps, a tenured professor for thirty years in the Religious Studies Department, and after that, an elected California congressman in the House of Representatives. Stemming from Capps’ dedication in promoting healthy discourse as a means to work out local, national, and global matters, the center similarly advocates dialogue in tackling major public issues, ethics, and values in a non-partisan and non-sectarian manner.

To achieve such goals, the center’s internship opportunities are geared toward UCSB students who want to be proactive members of society. The financial support given by McCune will help fund two key programs offered by the center –  a coursework and training in local nonprofit organizations within Santa Barbara and the chance to develop skills in public service through internships provided by UC educational hubs in Washington and Sacramento.

Wade Clark Roof, director of the Capps Center and a J.F. Rowny Professor of Religion and Society with the Religious Department, said that McCune’s endowment gift further affirms the relevance of the center’s objectives, specifically their educational thrust.

“[The endowment gift] will greatly help us provide more opportunities for students to stand up for their rights and answer the call to civic responsibility,” said Roof.

The first aforementioned program begins as an eight course credit class for students during either their junior or senior year. They enter a preparatory seminar class with Roof in the fall and move on to serve as paid interns during the winter and spring quarters in non-profit organizations chosen to fit their goals and aspirations.

Students also take a spring course with Roof geared towards distilling significant lessons from their internships. The Capps Center works in collaboration with the Nonprofit Support Center of Santa Barbara County (NSC) in placing students to their respective organizations.

The second program grants financial stipends for chosen undergraduates to spend summer internships in either Sacramento or Washington. Students are paired to serve in both government agencies of California and in non-governmental organizations. The Capps Center has partnerships with the UC Sacramento Center and the UC Washington Center that helps match up their students with organizations and agencies that are compatible with the students’ ambitions. Applications for both programs begin during the spring quarter and more information on this process can be found on the center’s website (http://www.cappscenter.ucsb.edu/about_cc.html).

“[Because of] kind grants and gifts from the community, we are able to sustainably make available a wide range of opportunities to our students. We are open to anybody, any student, in the university. We look for students who are driven to critically use their majors to positively change and affect our society,” said Roof.

Capps Center Graduate Student Assistant Kelli Coleman Moore urges students to apply.

“Take advantage of every opportunity at this time in your life. This is more for you to get hands-on work that will guide you to the profession that you want to achieve and to know where you want to be,” Moore said.