Nonprofit students Pay It Forward to Boys & Girls Club

From the left are Laura Dewberry, director of the YSU Center for Nonprofit Leadership; Germaine McAlpine, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown; Laura Weymer, the Club's director of Development; and Tabitha Richmond, YSU student and a participant in the Pay It Forward initiative.
Students in the Student Nonprofit Leadership Organization at Youngstown State University gained hands-on experience in philanthropy this spring through the Pay It Forward: Student Philanthropy Initiative.

The YSU students awarded $3,000 in to the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown for a Summer Camp Fitch Experience. The Club, in collaboration with the YMCA of Youngstown, will use the funds to send approximately 30 members to Camp Fitch on the shores of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania.

The Pay It Forward Initiative helps YSU students learn how to be engaged citizens and to understand the important role philanthropy plays in the health of local communities. 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 30 local nonprofit organizations that met specific guidelines related to addiction, animal welfare, neighborhood revitalization and youth education,” said Laura Dewberry, director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. “The students then subjected each application to a rigorous vetting process, and chose one well-deserving organization to receive their available funding this year.”

The Pay It Forward initiative began with seed money from Ohio Campus Compact in 2010, and the students have sustained this initiative through their own fundraising efforts every year since then. In total, participating students have awarded more than $40,000 to local nonprofit organizations through this initiative.

“This project strives to engage our business majors and nonprofit leadership students in professional development opportunities with the nonprofit community,” Dewberry said.

The Center for Nonprofit Leadership offers a certificate and a minor in Nonprofit Leadership, which can be combined with any major on campus. For more information on Pay It Forward, Student Nonprofit Leadership Organization or YSU’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership, contact Dewberry at 330-941-1870 or