Fast Pitch: Millennials Giving Back to the Community



Cory Singleton, UC students particpates in Fast Pitch training 2015

Photo provided by Social Venture Partners; event photo by Danielle Dean

The Millennial generation was recently blasted for being a fame-obsessed group that doesn’t care about giving back to its community, but a new study concludes that those in their 20s and 30s actually put charity high up on their priority list. 

According to the recent Millennial Impact Report, 75 percent of young people donated to causes last year and 63 percent said they gave their time to volunteer. The survey polled 6,522 people between the ages of 20 and 35. Ninety-three percent had a bachelor's degree and the majority did not have kids. 

“What we heard over and over again is that Millennials are eager to give if they’re already engaged in a conversation with the charity,” Derrick Feldmann, chief executive of Achieve and Johnson -- one of the groups that conducted the survey -- told Philanthropy.com. 

Many of those young philanthropists attended Fast Pitch at historic Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine on February 11, 2015.

Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, underwrote the Fast Pitch $5,000 Student Choice Award that the college students—from UC, Xavier, Denison and NKU—awarded. 

For the last seven years Tom Ruthemeyer and Karen Kent, professors at Xavier University, have exposed students to philanthropy by organizing full-time graduate student groups around the needs of several disadvantaged populations. Their full-time students wrote grants for organizations serving these important groups. Last year, “[Social Venture Partners] came to the evening graduate class to educate them on their evaluation process. In addition, the class was able to participate in Fast Pitch to see a process in person,“ says Professor Kent. Using what they learned, the graduate students evaluated the student-written applications and chose the organizations which they deemed worthy of funding. 

 “For 15 years, the Mayerson project has provided opportunities for NKU students to learn about issues in our region and nonprofit organizations trying to address them,” said Julie Olberding, director of NKU’s Master of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management Certificate Programs. Olberding also serves in Charitable Words network of volunteer professional advisors.

Charitable Words Scholars connects nonprofits with students and recent graduates, volunteer advisors and pro bono resources to help nonprofits “shape and share their stories to the right audiences on the right platforms.” Since 2012, more than 50 Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky students and recent graduates have been assigned to more than 30 nonprofits in internships and special assignments.

 “Through this process, students realize that they can make a difference in the world and that every dollar – or hour – can go far in helping nonprofits help people and places,” Olberding said. “NKU faculty and staff have been on the cutting edge of student philanthropy nationally and internationally, trying new and creative approaches that are appropriate for their courses and students.”

 “This new collaborative effort with Charitable Words and SVP will give students a much better understanding of engaged giving and collective action, which are important trends in the areas of philanthropy and nonprofits,” Olberding said.

“Fast Pitch educates, connects and accelerates in a very engaged way,” said SVP executive director Joan Kaup. “Social Venture Partners are excited to have so many students of today and philanthropists of tomorrow in our audience.”

“There’s no shortage of work to be done at nearly 8,000 nonprofits in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky – and 1.8 million nationwide. Nonprofits are the fastest-growing sector of the economy representing 10 percent of the workforce,” Callinan said.  “But their budgets and staffing are limited and students with a “passion for purpose” and engaged volunteer advisors make a significant impact.”

“Charitable Words works with nonprofit partners to measure outcomes – and engaged giving and collective impact yield exponential benefits to charitable contributions,” Callinan said.  “Organizations such as SVP and Charitable Words go beyond just writing checks.”

The learnings of the NKU philanthropy program stay with the students after graduation, Olberding said.“I did a study a few years ago that found that Mayerson alumni donate, volunteer and serve on nonprofit boards at a much higher rate than the average American. Specifically, 86% of these alumni made charitable contributions within the past year, 71% volunteered and 15% served on nonprofit boards.”

 “It’s a win-win-win for nonprofits, students and their community,” said Callinan.