NKU’s Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project Awards $34,000 to Local Nonprofits


Mayerson project

April 30, 2019— Northern Kentucky University students awarded $34,000 to 22 agencies through the university’s nationally recognized Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project.

This spring, 364 students from 19 classes took part in integrating philanthropy into their classroom experience. Students learned about nonprofits that serve the community and evaluated where to invest grants provided by local funders. Each class raised funds to support non-profit organizations, including Brewhouse Bakery Company, ArtsWave and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

“The agencies become our co-educators,” said Mark Neikirk, executive director of the Scripps Howard Center of Civic Engagement. “Theater students, for example, might visit a community theater. Social work students might visit a food pantry. The lessons of the classroom are strengthened by the community experience. And in the end, the students invest real money. It’s a benefit for both the students and the community. A win-win.”

mayerson student volunteers

The Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project was established in 2000 with the goal of teaching students about nonprofit organizations through hands-on experience. The belief is that through this program students would remain involved in the community after graduation. To date, the Mayerson Project has donated $870,116 to 398 nonprofit agencies.

“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,” Kajsa Larson, faculty coordinator of the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project, said.

Also this semester, a graduate class worked with the Duke Energy Foundation through NKU’s “indirect model” of student philanthropy. The students reviewed applications for funding received by Duke and offered their feedback; Duke’s team made the final awards. 

The programs funders for the Spring 2019 semester included the Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation; ArtsWave; the Scripps Howard Foundation; the Straws Charitable Foundation; the Greater Cincinnati Foundation; the R.C. Durr Foundation, Inc.; the Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky; and the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation.  

Individual donors also contributed. If you would like to support the program, you can do so with an online gift at civicengagemetn.nku.edu or by contacting the Scripps Center at engage@nku.edu.

Here are the direct classes and awards from the Spring 2019 semester:

ENG 101: College Writing, Taught by Jonathan S. Culluck / Supported by the R.C. Durr Foundation

-       Fairhaven Rescue Mission                                       $2,000

ANT 307: Museum Methods, Taught by Judy Voelker / Supported by the Straws Charitable Foundation

-       Drake Planetarium and Science Center               $2,000

BIO 461: Ecology and Geology of Coral Reefs, Taught by Denice Robertson & Sarah Johnson / Supported by the Straws Charitable Foundation

-       Belize Audubon Society                                           $1,000

ENV 493: Environmental Science, Taught by Kristy Hopfensperger / Supported by the Straws Charitable Foundation

-       Urban Earth Farms                                                     $2,000

CMST 340: Strategies of Persuasion, Taught by Jeff Fox / Supported by the Straws Charitable Foundation, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Student Fundraising

-       Children’s Law Center, Inc.                       $1,250

-       Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati – Buenger Club, Newport, KY                   $1,250

LAW 909: Children’s Law Clinic, Taught by Amy Halbrook and Susie Bookser / Supported by the Scripps Howard Foundation

-       Pass It On, Inc.                                       $1,000

-       Children’s Law Center, Inc.                       $1,000

GER 202: Intermediate German II, Taught by Andrea Fieler / Supported by the Scripps Howard Foundation and Rich Boehne

-       German Heritage Museum                                      $1,000

-       Cincideutsch, Inc.                                                  $1,000

LDR 160: Leadership around the World, Pendleton County High School, Taught by Megan Downing / Supported by the Neikirk Family Fund

-       Matthew 25 Ministries                               $1,000

PAD 621: Resource Acquisition & Management, Taught by Jules Olberding / Supported by the Horizon Community Fund of Northern Kentucky and in partnership with the Duke Energy Foundation

-       Adventure Crew                                                          $1,000

EDU 316: Racism & Sexism, Taught by Kimberly Clayton-Code / Supported by ArtsWave

-       Newport Independent Schools’ Gifted and Talented Program                         $2,000

NEU 101: Neuroscience for Life, Taught by Chris Curran / Supported by ArtsWave

-       Sidekicks Made                                                            $2,000

HIS 522: Intro to Historic Preservation, Taught by Brian Hackett / Supported by ArtsWave and the Scripps Howard Foundation

-       Newport History Museum                                       $1,500

HIS 607: Exhibits in Museums and Historic Sites, Taught by Brian Hackett / Supported by ArtsWave

-       Behringer-Crawford Museum                  $1,000

PAD 560: Planning & Community Development, Taught by Darrin Wilson / Supported by ArtsWave

-       Westside Citizen’s Coalition                    $4,000

MBI 620: Strategic Leadership for Informatics, Taught by Charlie Slaven / Supported by the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation

-       Be Concerned                                                $1,000

-       Reset Ministries                                             $1,000

ENG 546: Grant Writing, Taught by Janel Bloch / Supported by the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation

-       Rose Garden Center for Hope & Healing                $1,000

-       Covington Partners                                             $1,000

ENTP 320: Social Entrepreneurship, Taught by Carole Cangioni / Supported by the Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation

-       Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky  $2,000

HNR 302: Humanity & Society, Taught by Ali Godel / Supported by the Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation

-       Brewhaus Bakery Company / Brewhaus Dog Bones                  $2,000


About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit nku.edu.