Youngstown State University students in the Student Nonprofit Leadership Organization awarded two $1,500 grants through the Pay It Forward: Strengthening Communities Student-Led Philanthropy Initiative, a program that gives students hands-on experience in philanthropy.
Grants were given to Inspiring Minds of Warren, Ohio, and Youngstown CityScape of Youngstown. Each organization was awarded $1,500.
Inspiring Minds plans to use the funding for its nutrition program. Funds will be used for hands-on lessons in food preparation and healthy lifestyles in their after-school monthly program and through summer programming. Monies will specifically be spent on food/pantry supplies as well as kitchen utensils and equipment.
Youngstown CityScape plans to use the funding to complete beautification landscaping to the Phelps Street staircase leading from the Williamson College of Business Administration into downtown Youngstown. The stairs were replaced in 2014, and by completing the landscaping this could be another catalyst to creating a more open, welcoming environment between downtown and YSU.
The grant awards were distributed at the Pay It Forward Award Ceremony on Tuesday, May 5, at the Williamson College of Business on the Youngstown State University campus.
Pay It Forward helps students learn how to be engaged citizens and to understand the important role philanthropy plays in the health of local communities – while meeting course specific goals. The initiative addresses critical economic needs in the Mahoning Valley while providing an opportunity for students to experience the grant process of soliciting, reviewing, interviewing and awarding funding.
“Through a democratic process, the students reviewed applications from nearly 20 regional nonprofit organizations that met the specific guidelines relating to animal welfare, community revitalization and youth education,” says Laura J. Dewberry, director, YSU Center for Nonprofit Leadership. “The students then subjected each application through a rigorous vetting process, and chose two well-deserving organizations to receive their funding this year.”
This initiative began in 2010 with seed money from Ohio Campus Compact, and the students have sustained this initiative through their own fundraising efforts over the last three years. In total participating students have awarded more than $36,000 to regional nonprofit organizations. Additionally, students in the initiative are required to perform 15 hours of community service.
For more information on Pay It Forward, the YSU Student Nonprofit Leadership Organization or the YSU Center for Nonprofit Leadership, contact Dewberry at 330-941-1870 or LJMcCaskey@ysu.edu.