Non-profit founded and run by McDaniel students shows results

September 10, 2010

McDaniel seniors John Modica and Ryan Allnutt have big plans for First Global Visions, the non-profit consulting company they founded in Carroll County a year ago to give students experience through community service projects.

They envision their organizational model on campuses across the country, providing leadership and career training experiences to college students through energy efficiency audits and upgrades, social entrepreneurship and civic engagement.

The idea for First Global set root during Modica’s semester abroad in Morocco during the spring of 2009. During his time studying at the Center for Cross-Cultural Learning, Modica first became interested in sustainability and cultural preservation, and he saw the difference just two people – professors at the school – could make in their communities.

To Modica, who’s majoring in Philosophy and International Studies, it’s a mutually beneficial partnership. Students gain valuable experience while making a difference in the Carroll County community.

“Students can effect profound change and work for a better community, not only today but in the future,” Modica says, explaining that the experiences and values students form now often remain with them in their careers. “We wanted to create a business that fills needs in society, a business that makes our community better.”

Shea Beitler-Akman ’11, Brian Boltz ’11 and Ryan Allnutt present First Global Visions’ community development projects at the Maryland Heartland Sustainable Living Fair in May at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster.

Already, First Global is showing results.

With a third McDaniel student, Laura Garrison, Modica and Allnutt wrote the proposal that won the fledgling company, partnered with the Hindman Foundation, a $64,000 EmPOWERING Clean Communities grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). Modica quickly put the funds to use conducting energy audits and retrofits in the homes of 11 low- and moderate-income families in Carroll County. At the invitation of MEA, First Global will submit another proposal for an additional $28,000.

After receiving the Griswold-Zepp Award for most innovative service project, Modica set up a booth at three local community events and distributed 1,960 compact fluorescent light bulbs, 11 water-heater insulating jackets, 11 smart outlet surge protectors, 22 units of hot-water-pipe insulation and 12 low-flow water/energy-efficient showerheads.

First Global helped write the Carroll County Sustainability Plan that is being considered for adoption by the commissioners. Members have presented at the Towson University Civic Engagement Conference and the Carroll County Energy Expo. And their opinions on energy issues have been requested by the media.

Now that the company is recognized by the IRS as a public charity, the organization is seeking donor support and increasing the number of students involved in projects.
“With more students we can form more partnerships in the community,” Modica says, explaining that students bring with them more ideas for community development projects, and thus more opportunities to partner with community resources. “We’ll figure out ways to fund the ideas students have.”

To contact First Global Visions, e-mail