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NKU Students Award More than $37,000 to Nonprofit Organizations

Northern Kentucky University students are awarding $37,712 to local nonprofit through the university’s nationally recognized Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project. The awards were announced on Giving Tuesday during a ceremony on campus.

This is the program’s 20th anniversary.

It was established at NKU in 1999 with funding from the Manuel D. & Rhoda Mayerson Foundation of Cincinnati.

Today, funders also include ArtsWave, the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the R.C. Durr Foundation, Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky, the Straws Charitable Foundation, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. 

Together, the funders provide each class with $2,000. Students make the decision where to invest after researching local needs and nonprofits.

“It’s a high impact investment both for the nonprofits and for the people those agencies help, but also for our students, whose eyes are opened to community needs and how to address those needs,” said Kajsa Larson, faculty coordinator of the program.

Nineteen classes took part in the program for the Fall 2019 semester. The courses spanned 15 academic disciplines and ranged from dual credit courses taught at local high schools to graduate courses on campus at NKU. In all, 361 students took a “Mayerson” class this fall.

An array of nonprofits were selected, including Lighthouse Community School, Foundation for Ohio River Education, and the Women’s Crisis Center among many others.

“The agencies become our co-educators,” said Mark Neikirk, executive director of NKU’s Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, which oversees the program. “Theater students, for example, might visit a community theater and see firsthand how an investment can support local arts. Social work students might visit a food pantry. The lessons of the classroom are strengthened by the community experience.”

Since inception, the Mayerson Project has invested $909,178 in nearly 400 nonprofit agencies.

Twenty classes are planned for the Spring 2020 semester in celebration of the program’s anniversary.

-Staff report

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