The Mayerson Student Philanthropy Program had just been introduced when Roger Grein heard about this concept.  Roger spread the good news and pledged the necessary funding to get the programs started.  Today, 11 years later, the program continues and the Return on the Investment at NKU is outstanding.  Today the program is active at 34 colleges thanks to Roger's vision and tireless passion for sharing the good news.

We feel confident the ROI for high school students will be just as strong, and look forward to watching the seeds sprout for years to come. 

Educating the Next Generation of Philanthropists

From Jeff Seibert, Mayerson Foundation / December 2, 2011

The Mayerson Student Philanthropy Program at NKU is the most innovative and influential program of its kind in the country.  That was clear at yesterday’s Awards Ceremony which marked the beginning of the Program’s 11th year.  Organized philanthropy is taking notice of the influence of students on the field previously occupied by the “1%”.  In what is being called, “Philanthropy 2.0”, student philanthropy programs in higher education – most of whom take NKU as the model – are democratizing philanthropy.  And that’s not even the most remarkable impact of the NKU Program.

Over the past 10 years, 125 different courses at NKU – from “Strategies of Persuasion” to “Music Appreciation”; from “Technical Writing” to “Qualitative Research Methods” – have used the process of awarding grants to community nonprofits as a way of learning how to be better nurses, engineers, lawyers – better people.  316 grants totaling $633,000 have been awarded to 220 local nonprofit agencies.  The funding enables nonprofits to shore up budgets affected by the lingering recession and the dramatic increase in need among our community’s poor, homeless, sick and tired.  Along the way, NKU’s talented faculty and administrators have innovated new ways of educating through philanthropy.  Online courses, year-long courses, new partnerships with major corporate philanthropists like Citibank and Toyota, state-wide conferences about student philanthropy, and high school dual-credit courses to name just a few.  60 colleges across the country are on a waiting list for NKU’s influential handbook – a manual on how to run a successful student philanthropy program – and that’s after the initial printing of 600 manuals were snapped up in a matter of weeks.

But at yesterday’s ceremony as one agency after another came up to the podium to accept their grant, it became clear that a “hoped for” outcome was actually occurring.  Representatives from the staff of three of the grantees proudly identified themselves as alumni of the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Program.  When Neal Mayerson met with NKU President, Jim Votruba, he thought NKU would make a good site for the new program because its graduates remained in Greater Cincinnati to a larger degree than those from other colleges.  It was hoped that the new program would be a “feeder” for a new generation of highly educated and committed nonprofit leaders – and that is what’s happening!

Rina Saperstein is one example of a Mayerson student who now runs a local nonprofit.  “Power Inspires Progress (PIP)” is a workforce development agency that makes the best pizza in town at a dive called “Venice on Vine”.  Rina, the Executive Director of PIP, was a student in a Mayerson class where she learned that she can have a positive impact on unemployment through philanthropy.  Other grant recipients including the Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center and CASA of Kenton County also had Mayerson alumni on their staffs.  CASA received the largest grant of the night, $17,280 to hire a trainer for volunteers who help represent foster children as they go through the court system.

ROI – Return on Investment – is one of the most powerful indicators of performance in the for-profit as well as the not-for-profit sectors.  The Mayerson Student Philanthropy Program @ NKU continues to be a top performer. 

Book Image: The cover of NKU’s influential faculty handbook – planting the seeds of student philanthropy at colleges through the United States.  Click for a link to the handbook.

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