The Ohio State University at Marion

​Crowdfunding & community help students Pay It Forward

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Students in Amy Tibbals autumn English 2367.01S service learning course ended the semester by awarding three local nonprofit organizations $7,000 to support the work they do in the community.

Boys & Girls Club of Marion County received $3000 for their Summer Brain Game program, which helps students retain knowledge over summer break. The Black Heritage Council received $2,500 to help support minority scholarships, and United Community RX Program received $1,500 to help with their mission of providing assistance to lower the cost of prescription medications.

The philanthropic student initiative, called Pay It Forward Marion, has been a huge success, providing students the opportunity to learn more about Marion, community needs, the world of grants, and the importance of non-profit agencies to the fabric of a community.

In addition to their partnership with the United Way of Marion County, Pay It Forward has a now partnered with the Marion Community Foundation.

According to Tibbals, the combination of fundraising and their new partnership allowed the project to award more funds than ever before and do an additional Pay It Forward course this academic year. $5,000 came from the Marion Community Foundation, and $2,000 was raised in by a crowdfunding campaign held spring semester 2017 by English 3304 students.

Marion Community Foundation Director of Programs, Julie Prettyman felt sharing the grant process in the classroom was an invaluable lesson for students.

“We had the opportunity to allow young people to get involved in a grants process, a grant process that impacts their community and teaches them how to go through the process of making a good decision of awarding a grant,” said Prettyman.

Students shared that the impact of the program went well beyond traditional in class lessons.

“It was an honor to be a part of an English class that wasn’t traditional,” said education major Hannah McQuistion. “It was something that you couldn’t teach with books and notebooks. Being able to go out into a community that I have lived in for almost my whole life, giving back to people, and really having an organization that we really cared about is something that I will never forget.”

“No matter where I teach I can tell the story about how I really got to know these organizations and how it really touched my heart- hopefully show them the same kind of impact that the organizations have put on me as well, said education major, Ashley Keener.

“At the end of the semester, I have each student write what I call their final reflection, said Tibbals. “Over and over again, students say that they realize the importance of giving back. Whether it is your time, whether it is your money, there is a community in your area that needs your help and that all of us together make a difference.”

Pay It Forward continues spring semester 2018 with a funding campaign for the upcoming year. Students will once again look to Ohio State’s crowdfunding tool, BuckeyeFunder to helps support future community giving and positive student experiences.


About the Pay It Forward Project:

The Ohio State University at Marion's Pay It Forward Project provides students in English 2367.01S, entitled Language, Identity and Culture in the U.S. Experience, with the opportunity to oversee a competitive grant process all while meeting the goals and objectives of a second-level writing course. In other words, students have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the problems in the community of Marion, learn about organizations that are working to fix the problems in Marion and then decide how to award grant funds in order to make a positive impact. During this process, they are building their English skills by researching, analyzing, thinking critically, arguing, debating and writing papers. This experiential, real-world, service-learning course provides students with education that lasts longer than one semester, and builds students’ understanding of the problems in the community while at the same time making a difference in the community of Marion.

This is our third-annual Buckeye Funder campaign which is being run by students in English 3304, Business and Professional Writing. They are having the opportunity to apply their professional writing/communication skills to build and run this campaign.