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Connecting Despite COVID-19

Our 20th year for the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project at Northern Kentucky University has been our most challenging.

A classroom approach that relies on community interaction is tested when the interaction is by Zoom, Teams, and Google Hangout.

Yet something important happened in our fall classes. At a time when students were feeling disconnected, student philanthropy brought extra value to the virtual classroom. One professor noted that his students' reflection essays talked about being lonely. The student philanthropy component of his class made them feel less so. Students felt connected. To each other. To the nonprofits they considered. To their community. To common purpose.

Our classes this semester are awarding just over $25,000 in direct grants, generally of $1,000 to $2,000 per class. That pushes us very close to the $1 million mark and to 400 nonprofits supported since our program's inception in the Fall 2000 semester.

We invite you to spend some time on this celebration page. We're betting you, too, will feel a connection.

The stewardship benefits of the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project have been well-established over the program's 20 years. Students gain a deeper understanding of their community's needs and how to address them. But new research by an NKU team confirmed the academic benefits - especially a boost in graduation rates, sometimes as high as 15 percentage points. LEARN MORE.

Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors

Logos of Mayerson Sponsors


Congratulations to Awardees

Our 12 Fall 2020 classes awarded $25,000 to 15 nonprofits.
Logos of Fall 2020 Mayerson Awardees

A Unique Challenge

Philanthropy During a Global Pandemic

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"Even with COVID and the changes to the delivery method for the class, we still made sure to rise to the occasion."

CMST 340-001: Strategies of Persuasion
Professor Jeffrey Fox

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“Somehow we made it work. I am proud of this group of students. Given the difficult circumstances, they took the process seriously and worked diligently."

ENG 101-007: College Writing
Professor Jonathan Cullick

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“I am happy to know that a pandemic cannot slow NKU's enthusiasm for collaborating with its community."

ENV 220-001: Protecting Water Resources
Professor Kristy Hopfensperger

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“All my students did the virtual site visit by ZOOM or just emails, which were still very successfully and helped the nonprofit and the students to learn each other's needs."

GEO 415-001/PAD 515-001: Cartography
Professor Hongmei Wang

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"Although new to NKU, this group of (first year) students had experienced and successfully navigated the switch to virtual learning at the conclusion of their high school senior year in Spring 2020, and were very open in adjusting as needed as we explored the most effective way to engage in classroom discussion."

HNR 101-005: Leadership & Society
Professor Megan Dowing

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"Through this unique virtual interview process, the entire class was able to benefit from this powerful, organic interview process conducted by  the team in their Zoom interview. Had we been in an F2F class, the students would have never thought to request permission to record and share the interview. It was a powerful learning moment that would not have occurred if not for our unique learning environment."

LDR 385-001: Teamwork in Organizations
Professor Megan Dowing

Newport Murals July 2020 Progress
Newport River Wall Mural Progress from July 2020

In the Spring 2021, Ronnie Chamberlain's Theatrical Rendering (TAR 268) course will be working with the City of Newport to complete a panel mural on the Newport flood wall.

NKU Dance Department presenting Dysautonomia

"Dysautonomia" presented by NKU SOTA, Dance Department at Fall 2019 Mayerson celebration.

Looking Ahead to Spring 2021

There will be 14 courses participating in the Spring 2021 Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project.
Course Number Course Name

ANT 325-001

Applied Anthropology

Jessica Lott

CMST 340-001

Strategies of Persuasion

Jeff Fox

ENG 101-001

College Writing

Jon Cullick

ENG 546-001

Grant Writing

Janel Bloch

ENV 493-001

Seminar: Environmental Science

Kristy Hopfensperger

HIS 607-001

Exhibits in museums and Historic Sites

Brian Hackett

HNR 102-011

Servant Leadership & Civic Engagement

Megan Downing

LAW 929-001

Family Law Lab

Amy Halbrook

LDR 385-001/002

Teamwork in Organizations

Megan Downing

NEU 101-001

Neuroscience for Life

Chris Curran

PAD 500-001

Foundations of Public Administration

Julie Olberding

PSY 685-001   Applied Research Study Capston Phil Moberg

SWK 405-002/003/004

SWK Practicum: Community Org

Reiko Ozaki

TAR 268-001

Theatrical Rendering

Ronnie Chamberlain

YWL KY 2020/21 Young Women Lead KY Online
Kimberly Clayton-Code