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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Student philanthropy classes award $11K to a list of nonprofits; Toyota partners add $72K

Northern Kentucky University students in the Volunteer Management course conducted in partnership with Toyota awarded the Hearing Speech and Deaf Center $1,000 this year. (Photo from NKU)

Northern Kentucky University students in the Volunteer Management course conducted in partnership with Toyota awarded the Hearing Speech and Deaf Center $1,000 this year. (Photo from NKU)

 
Northern Kentucky University students awarded just over $11,000 to 10 nonprofits this semester as part of student philanthropy classes, providing funding for a diversity of needs across the region.
 
Another $72,500 was distributed through a classroom partnership with Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America of Erlanger.
 
That brings to over $800,000 the total amount of funds distributed to about 300 nonprofits directly or indirectly by NKU’s nationally renowned Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project since the program started in the fall semester of 2000. About 2,800 students have taken the classes in 36 different academic disciplines; this semester 146 students enrolled in seven classes.
 
“These classes are designed to raise students’ awareness of community needs, and how those needs are being met, while also complementing the learning goals of each course,” said Mark Neikirk, executive director of the NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, which coordinates the philanthropy program.
 
“A theater class, for example, may learn more about community theater by visiting and evaluating several of them,” he said. “A criminal justice course might learn more about effective sentencing by visiting nonprofits that provide treatment and other alternatives to incarceration. At the same time, the students in each class select one or two nonprofits to receive a small grant.”
 
Grants typically are $1,000 to $2,000, and are made using funds provided by community donors. The fall 2013 semester donors included Citi, the Mayerson Foundation and the Scripps Howard Foundation. Funds also were provided by student and faculty fundraising and individual donations from the community.
 
NKU is a national leader in incorporating student philanthropy in the college classroom, a pedagogy that has proven to have both short-term and long-term benefits. In the short-term, the learning outcomes of the class are improved as is student performance, and in the long-term, graduates are more likely to donate to nonprofits, serve on nonprofit boards and volunteer for nonprofits. “It’s a win-win for academics and community stewardship,” Neikirk said.
 
Two of the fall classes followed a slightly different model of student philanthropy. A graduate volunteer management class taught by Julie Olberding in the Master of Public Administration program used what’s known as the indirect model. Students acted as advisors to a funding board ‒ in this case, Toyota’s community giving board.
 
Toyota invested $72,500 in 12 area nonprofits in consultation with the NKU students.
 
An undergraduate class awarded volunteer hours rather than money. The students gave 50 volunteer hours to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Northern Kentucky. The hours will be provided by Alpha Lambda Delta, NKU’s freshman honor’s society through First Year Programs.
 
Nonprofits selected by the students visited campus earlier this month to be recognized during NKU’s student philanthropy celebration. “Seeing the pride on the students’ faces when they present the awards to the nonprofit organizations they have selected is a highlight of the work we do all semester,” said Whitney McIntyre Miller, the faculty coordinator for NKU’s student philanthropy classes.
 
“It is clear that they have such ownership over the process and their choice. Watching those interactions is a real source of joy for me and, I believe, others involved in the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project,” Miller said.
 
Twelve classes are planned for the spring semester. One of those classes is taking applications. It will award funds to nonprofits meeting Vision 2015 goals. To request an application, send an email to engage@nku.edu.
 
Vision 2015 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group focused on “a shared public plan that represents the region’s priorities” in Northern Kentucky. Learn more here.
 
From NKU

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