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The name of the Richmond-area nonprofit Jacob’s Chance signifies joy overcoming sadness. Its namesake, Jacob Leonard, was struck by a physical disability as a toddler but always told his family how much he looked forward to playing sports like baseball and soccer. He died in 2002 at age 11.

Today, Jacob’s Chance provides inclusive athletics programs for children and young adults. Kate Tilley, who helped create it, describes the organization as “Jacob’s chance to live through all of these kids.”

In the spring of 2019, a group of Spiders in a Principles of Marketing class figured out a way to help Jacob’s Chance do more good. With a keen eye on the nonprofit’s potential for more effective promotion, they recommended it apply for a Google Ad Grant, which provides nonprofits with up to $10,000 of advertising monthly from Google Ads. Recipients typically use it to recruit volunteers, attract donors, and share their story. Google Ad’s answer was a quick yes.

The nonprofit’s executive director “was thrilled,” said marketing professor Sara Hanson. “After the final presentation, I think she was relieved that the grant could be used going forward, even though we had concluded our portion of the project.”

It’s the kind of outcome Hanson had in mind when she decided the students’ projects should continue through implementation. Typically, they end with idea development.

“I think this was a unique experience that provided some initial exposure into the world of entrepreneurship,” she said.