YSU Program’s students pay it forward

Staff report


Youngstown State University students in the Nonprofit Leadership academic program gained hands-on experience in philanthropy this spring through the Pay It Forward: Strengthening Communities through Student-Led Philanthropy Initiative.

Members of the Student Nonprofit Leadership Organization had $2,000 in available grant funding to award this spring semester. The students focused funding decisions on: adult education/skill development, urban development revitalization and veteran outreach. The students narrowed the applicant pool of nearly 20 organizations to four finalists and then, eventually, the two award recipients.

$1,000: Big Reach Center of Hope in Greenford, Ohio, for the Life Enrichment Education Program where classes are offered to low-income and underserved adults in the community. The grant funds will be used to supplement the Garden Bucket and CPR/First-Aid classes, where clients are typically charged a small fee to participate due to instruction fees and/or materials. The grant funds will cover these fees so clients can attend the classes for free.

$1,000: Idora Neighborhood Association in Youngstown for the Homeless Veteran Home Revitalization Project. Grant funds will be used for building supplies to provide a homeless veteran a safe and healthy place to live, which will improve his quality of life and also restore a vacant home in the Idora neighborhood.

Students awarded the funds earlier this month at the official Pay It Forward Award Ceremony in the Williamson College of Business Administration.

The Pay It Forward Initiative helps students learn how to be engaged citizens and to understand the important role philanthropy plays in the health of our local communities. The initiative addresses critical economic needs in the Mahoning Valley through student-led grant making and volunteerism. This is the second year that funding was available as a result of student fundraising efforts.

YSU students also participated in Pay It Forward during the spring semester of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. In total, participating students have awarded more than $33,000 to regional nonprofit organizations and performed more than 3,000 hours of community service. Students enrolled in Pay It Forward courses are each required to perform 15 hours of community service.

The YSU Center for Nonprofit Leadership offers a certificate and a minor in Nonprofit Leadership, which can be combined with any major on campus. For information on the Pay It Forward or the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, contact Laura (McCaskey) Dewberry at 330-941-1870 or LJMcCaskey@ysu.edu.

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