Mount Union Sociology Class Pays it Forward

April 16, 2012

ALLIANCE, Ohio — As part of the Campus Compact Pay it Forward Initiative, students at the University of Mount Union will present funds to two Alliance nonprofits during a celebration at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 19 in the lower level of Bracy Hall on the University’s campus.

During the Pay it Forward celebration, students will present $1,000 checks to representatives of the Alliance Neighborhood Center and the Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter. Students are awarding the funds as part of a course requirement for a Grants and Planning course through the Department of Sociology taught by Susan Denning, director of stewardship and grants at Mount Union.

According to, Pay it Forward, a joint initiative of Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan Campus Compacts, is an effort to strengthen local communities through student-led philanthropy. The initiative is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and addresses critical economic needs in communities through student-led grant making and volunteerism. The project targets efforts in three needs areas: neighborhood development and revitalization; hunger, homelessness and health issues; and children and youth programs.

Goals of the initiative are to award charitable dollars to worthy organizations with strong proposals that address immediate economic needs in partnership with nonprofit agencies, build stronger communities through a skill-based volunteer force that enhances contributions through hours served and financial resources and provide students with practical experiences needed to manage philanthropic funding.

According to Denning, a faculty advisory group consisting of herself, Heather Eichner, service learning liaison in the Office of Service-Learning and Community Service, Lorie Miller, director of community educational outreach and community member Doug Schwarz, executive director of the Greater Alliance Foundation, oversees the Pay It Forward grant at Mount Union.

In an effort to seek proposals from local organizations, Denning’s class put out requests to the community. Organizations submitted proposals, which were evaluated by students, with two organizations being chosen to receive funding.

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