Northern Kentucky University

NKU Student Is A Change Agent


A freshman at Northern Kentucky University, Jayren Andrews has already long established himself as a change agent.

Northern Kentucky University student Jayren Andrews is a leader and role model.Wise beyond his years, he is a young man driven to be a voice, a leader, and a role model for his peers, his neighborhood, his network, and even his world. While attending Shroder High School, Jayren competed at the state level in track and was on the second team All-Conference in football; and in his senior year, was an award winning public speaker. By 17, he was president of the Avondale Youth Council, guiding other young people to making good decisions. He is also one of two youth selected to serve on the Cincinnati Poverty Collaborative Steering Committee, and is very involved in college.

“Being on the Collaborative’s Executive Board was an opportunity to represent my neighborhood, Avondale,” he told me. “My concern was digging down and coming up with substantial solutions to help get people out of poverty. That opportunity was humbling to be with so many different people who all have the same goal.”

When he thinks about his own life and his motivation, Jayren will tell you it is those trials and tribulations that are your ‘defining moments of character’ and that learning from one’s failures is a key to accomplishment. His mentors through the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative are among those who have influenced his growth. Jamie Wilson, his CYC AmeriCorps College Guide, allowed him to absorb his shine for the moment, come back and be humble. “She showed me that hard work is everything. There really isn’t anything that you can’t accomplish,” he said.

Jayren paused as he recalled another person who has influenced his life, his little brother who was gone too soon, a baby who didn’t live to see his first day. “I think about him every day. I want to show him what kind of big brother I could have been,” Jayren told me.

Most recently honored by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati with its 2017 Youth Leadership Award, last year the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative recognized Jayren among its mentees as a 2016 Outstanding Student Award winner for his determination in overcoming life obstacles to find success in his education and in life.

To my question about what Jayren would like to do with the rest of his life, he answered, “At the end of the day, I want to leave the world better than I came into it.”

To that, I say, that goal has already happened. And I have no doubt Jayren’s little baby brother is proud.

Cincinnati Area Donors Honored


It has been such a privilege to be working with the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council for the 7th year in promoting some of our region’s incredibly generous philanthropists through the Voices of Giving Awards. This year the organization honored donors on behalf of 25 nonprofit organizations whose important work is supported Jenny Berg with her father, Donald L. Neyer, and brother Dan Neyer at the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council Voices of Giving Awardsby their decision to give a planned gift (and much more in heart and time). Those Greater Cincinnati philanthropists are strengthening local neighborhoods, families and individual lives through their actions.

“Our Voices of Giving honorees have such diverse interests, often with deep rooted passion from personal experiences. They represent the true spirit of philanthropy and their gifts will touch thousands of lives directly and indirectly in our region, for generations to come. Their donations will help these important causes that are close to their hearts to be sustainable for future generations,” said Voices of Giving Co-Chair Molly Talbot, VP of Advancement at St. Ursula Academy.

Several hundred guests attended the Awards Event that was held at CET and emceed by Local 12’s John Lomax.

2016 Honorees included: (please note that honorees from two organizations asked to be left out of publicity and are not listed) Carson Smith (honored posthumously) on behalf of the American Cancer Society; Fran Cohen on behalf of CET – Greater Cincinnati Television Educational Foundation; Joe and Sandy Dominiak on behalf of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati; Thomas Ernst Huenefeld on behalf of Cincinnati Museum Center; Digi France Schueler on behalf of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Mary Rose J. Zink on behalf of Cincinnati Public Radio; Mace Justice on behalf of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Dr. Steve and Diane Dumbauld on behalf of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden; Patricia Armstrong on behalf of the CISE Foundation; Doug Spitler on behalf of Episcopal Retirement Services; Richard Hildbold (honored posthumously) on behalf of the Freestore Foodbank; Jerome and Suzanne Teller on behalf of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute and Isaac M. Wise Temple; Val Schube on behalf of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Rick and Julie Kantor on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati; Rev. Dr. Joseph and Blanch Graham on behalf of Life Enriching Communities Foundation – Twin Towers; Donald L. Neyer on behalf of Life Enriching Communities Foundation – Twin Lakes; Lawrence Klosterkemper on behalf of Mount St. Joseph University and Roger Bacon High School; Jerry W. Warner, Ph.D. on behalf of Northern Kentucky University; Bill and Helene Sedwick on behalf of People Working Cooperatively; Margaret ‘Tuck’ Fraser (honored posthumously) on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati; Ursulines of Cincinnati on behalf of Saint Ursula Academy; Lisa O’Brien on behalf of United Way of Greater Cincinnati; and Dan and Julie Murphy on behalf of Xavier University.

Please click the link to read the honorees’ brief bios:  2016 Voices of Giving honoree bios

2016 Voices of Giving Awards

The Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council is a professional association for people whose work includes developing, marketing, and administering charitable planned gifts for non-profit institutions and a variety of other legal and financial settings.

Cincinnati Nonprofit Magnified Giving Is Honored


At a downtown luncheon before nearly 1000 nonprofit supporters, Magnified Giving was recently named by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Cincinnati Chapter as the 2014 Outstanding Youth In Philanthropy Honoree.

Cincinnati nonprofit Magnified Giving is honoredThe Award is given to an individual, group, organization, corporation or foundation with a record of exceptional leadership and results in encouraging youth (through age 18) to:  learn about and participate in philanthropy by planning and implementing a fundraising program to benefit a specific organization(s) or cause(s); demonstrate leadership in a specific organization(s) or cause(s); serve as role models for other youth and/or encourage other youth to participate in philanthropy.  Magnified Giving was nominated by CancerFree Kids, Nantucket Creative Management, Northern Kentucky University, Roger Bacon High School, Seton High School, and Villa Madonna Academy.

Founded by philanthropist Roger Grein, Magnified Giving educates, inspires and engages young students in philanthropy through their schools. The vision of Magnified Giving is for every high school student in America, beginning with Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, to someday have an opportunity to learn firsthand how to be generous and wise philanthropists through hands-on experience. Participating school groups are challenged to determine how they want to invest more than $1000 in a nonprofit.

Since its beginning in 2008, the Lockland-based nonprofit organization has given over a quarter of a million dollars through student-awarded grants to local charities; and has grown to include 59 school programs with more than 3000 students involved in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton, and Northeastern Ohio. For the school year 2013 to 2014, youth participant groups granted nearly $75,000 to more than 60 nonprofits; and for the 2014 to 2015 school year, that number is expected to be over 70 charitable grants totaling more than $80,000.

For more information about Magnified Giving, please visit

Community Spotlight: The Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project


The Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project of Northern Kentucky University provides an opportunity for students to participate in experiential philanthropy through a wide variety of courses each year.

Residents of the Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter in Cincinnati for families such as Leah and her mother who are living hundreds of miles away from their home for Leah's treatment. The Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House was recently selected as one nonprofit organization to benefit from a $2,000 grant by Northern Kentucky University students as a part of the NKU Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project.

Residents of the Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter in Cincinnati for families such as Leah and her mother who are living hundreds of miles away from their home for Leah’s treatment. The Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House was recently selected as one nonprofit organization to benefit from a $2,000 grant by Northern Kentucky University students as a part of the NKU Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project.

The Mayerson project is designed to use a “learn by giving” approach in the college classroom. Every semester select university courses are named Mayerson courses, are given a sum of money, and are asked to evaluate nonprofits and then invest in those they think will make the most effective use of the funds (typically, $1,000 per nonprofit).

Northern Kentucky University Students Learn About Philanthropy


Learning about philanthropy is such a powerful lesson for college students, and, when taught young, tends to permeate their adult lives. At Northern Kentucky University, that lesson has amounted to $18,550 invested by college students in 12 Greater Cincinnati area nonprofit organizations during the spring 2013 semester. It is all part of the nationally recognized Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project.

Through the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project at Northern Kentucky University, students invested over $18,000 in 12 Greater Cincinnati nonprofitsStudent philanthropy classes at NKU combine grant-making with classroom learning, so that students become more engaged in their reading and research. Nearly 90 percent of the students who take a student philanthropy class at NKU report increased understanding of the ideas being taught in the course. They also reported heightened awareness of community needs and how nonprofit organizations are meeting those needs.

“Mayerson classes are some of the most effective classes we offer at NKU,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Gail Wells.

This was the 13th year for student philanthropy courses at NKU. In that time, students have had a hand in the distribution of $757,000 to 300 nonprofit organizations, the majority of that in the form of direct grants of $1,000 to $2,000. The funding generally comes from community donors. The Manuel D. & Rhoda Mayerson Foundation of Cincinnati, Citi of Florence and the Scripps Howard Foundation of Cincinnati were the key supports for the spring semester.

In addition, students raised some of the money to support the classes with letter-writing campaigns, T-shirt sales and other fundraising efforts. Students raised over $2,500 of the $18,550 being distributed. Some classes also collected needed items for nonprofits and signed up after class to volunteer for the organizations.

“One of the great aspects of this program is the community support,” said Mark Neikirk, executive director of the NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, which oversees the program. “Donors to the ‘giving pool’ have made it possible for NKU to offer these classes year in and year out.

“But in recent years, students have stepped up, too, raising some of the funds directly,” he said. “What we’re trying to teach is the class material. What we’re trying to instill is community stewardship – what the late Manuel Mayerson, who helped conceive of this program, called ‘the habit of giving.’ And research shows that this works. NKU students who took a Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project class are more likely, after graduation, to give money to nonprofits, to serve on nonprofit boards and to volunteer their time.”Through the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project at Northern Kentucky University, students invested over $18,000 in 12 Greater Cincinnati nonprofits

NKU is a national leader in developing student philanthropy pedagogy. A faculty handbook, published in 2010 by NKU, has been distributed nationally to universities in nearly every state. NKU faculties have published research on the topic and frequently discuss this pedagogy at academic conferences.

This year’s recipient organizations were: the Dragonfly Foundation ($1,275); the Children’s Law Center ($1,275); Teen Challenge Cincinnati ($1,000); DCCH Center for Families and Children ($1,000); Reset Ministries ($1,000); Hosea House ($4,000); Buseesa Community Development Centre in Uganda and the Sisters of Notre Dame in Park Hills ($2,000); Santa Maria Community Services International Welcome Center ($1,000); Stop AIDS ($1,000); Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati ($2,000); Brighton Recovery Center for Women ($1,000); and Historic New Richmond Inc. ($2,000).

Classes participating this year included Strategies of Persuasion, College Writing, Grant Proposal Writing, Leadership Around the World, Studies in Spanish Language Cinema, Community Social Work, Social Work Practice, and Exhibits and Museums and Historic Sites.

A full list of nonprofits that have received funding from 2000 through Spring 2012 is available at, along with the classes involved.

Donations to the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project can be made online at (specify Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project) or by contacting Dan Emsicke in the NKU Office of University Development at (859) 572-5628 or

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