Paying it Forward at the University of Akron

LGD Rotary Camp 2013

UA English students and their instructor, Lauren Garcia-Duplain, present a Pay it Forward check to the Akron Rotary Camp

Click here for a video produced by the Akronist of UA Students presenting their Pay it Forward projects (Guest starring Petie the Pony!)

What is Pay it Forward?

The University of Akron Pay it Forward program was created to develop a new generation of philanthropists by:educating students about philanthropy and community, involving student in service-learning projects, and engaging students in decision making regarding giving money.

Participating faculty include philanthropy as a core component in their coursework and each class receives real dollars to award to nonprofit organizations.

The major goal of these projects is to infuse a student-led philanthropy initiative into an academic course and provide students with the intellectual knowledge and practical experiences to manage philanthropic funding. Students also provide 10 to 15 hours of volunteer service to local nonprofits.

During their time at community organizations, students work as a team to identify organizational needs and establish funding criteria. Students then create persuasive presentations about the community need and compete to “win” the funding for “their” organization. Community leaders act as a “judges” to evaluate the student presentations.

From this experience, students gain understanding of philanthropy, community connectedness, and group decision making skills. The community gains funds to support economic recovery as well as hands-on service. This serves as a model for service-learning and philanthropic education in the local community. 

Pay it Forward: By the Numbers

Since the inception of the UA PIF program, 1,400 UA students in 63 classes have participated. They have worked with over 65different local nonprofit organizations and have distributed almost $69,000. In addition to the grant distribution, these classes have contributed approximately 14,000 hours of time to the nonprofit projects they have served. 

Special thanks to United Way Summit County for their continued support!