NKU Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project announces fall recipients | Arts & Culture
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY (FOX19) – Northern Kentucky University students awarded $5,525 in grants to six area nonprofits Thursday as part of the university’s Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project. The awards were made at a campus ceremony.
The student philanthropy project, now it in its 11th year, is designed to teach the principles of community stewardship by allowing students real-world opportunities to review grant requests and make awards. A typical class is responsible for awarding a minimum of $2,000.
“These classes teach philanthropy by letting the students ‘do’ philanthropy,” said Mark Neikirk, director of the NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, which houses the philanthropy project. “Along the way, our students learn that giving money isn’t a snap. Wise investment requires research and analysis to determine how a dollar invested will have the most impact. And the students take their obligation to invest for impact very seriously.”
The Fall 2011 semester included five student philanthropy classes, three of which awarded grants directly. Those classes and the recipient nonprofits were:
Strategies of Persuasion (CMST 340)
Professor Jeff Fox
§ The Music Resource Center -- $1,525
§ New Beginnings Family Services -- $1,525
Qualitative Research Methods (JCOM 687)
Professor Jimmie Manning
§ BRIDGES for a Just Community -- $1,000
§ Power Inspires Progress -- $1,000
Chemical Writing & Information (CHE 391W)
Professor PJ Ball
§ Cincinnati Museum Center -- $1,000
§ Kenton County Library -- $1,000
The other two student philanthropy classes this semester were designed differently. Professor Janel Bloch’s class (Technical Writing/ENG 347) conducted preliminary evaluations for grants that will be awarded during the Spring 2012 semester.
Professor Julie Olberding’s class (Volunteer Management/PAD 622) operated under an “indirect” model of student philanthropy in partnership with Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, based in Erlanger. In this model, students act in an advisory capacity, reviewing grants received by Toyota and providing feedback on the strengths of the applications. Students provided their analysis for the distribution of over $60,000 in grants awarded to 11 nonprofits.
The funds that NKU classes award to nonprofits are provided by community donors. This year’s donors include the financial services corporation Citi, which has offices in Florence, and the Scripps Howard Foundation. Students also raised a portion of the funds ($1,550) with a letter-writing campaign to solicit small donations. Administrative support for the classes is provided by the Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation of Cincinnati, which helped found the NKU program 11 years ago.
The classes are coordinated by Dr. Danielle McDonald, the program’s faculty director. She is an assistant professor in NKU’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. “The Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project provides students with the opportunity to be actively engaged in the learning process,” Dr. McDonald said. “Students have the chance to make the connections between what they are learning in the classroom and what is happening within their communities when student philanthropy is incorporated into the class curriculum.”
Over the life of the program, NKU students have distributed $506,905 to nonprofits directly and another $127,480 through the indirect model for a total of $634,385. A study, conducted by Dr. Olberding and scheduled for publication early next year, found that NKU’s student philanthropy classes have long-term benefits. Dr. Olberding surveyed graduates who took a student philanthropy class while at NKU and found that a majority indicated that the classes “had a positive effect on their awareness, learning, beliefs, and intentions. Further, 86 percent of student philanthropy alumni had recently made charitable contributions, 71 percent reported volunteering and 15 percent served on nonprofit boards – all of which are much higher than the national averages for these behaviors.”
NKU’s student philanthropy classes are a national model. A faculty handbook that colleges and universities can use to set up similar classes was requested by institutions in 40 states and two foreign countries. A first printing (600 copies) in July 2010 has been exhausted and a second printing is due out by year’s end.
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