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Students Pay It Forward to 15 Local Nonprofit Organizations

Holly Jedlicka ’97 smiled from ear to ear as she thanked a team of Otterbein University students for the $500 donation to her nonprofit organization, PBJ Connections, at an awards reception on Friday, May 9. PBJ Connections, which was co-founded by Jedlicka and provides mental and behavioral health therapy to youth and families using horses, was one of 15 Licking County (Ohio) nonprofit organizations to receive donations from Otterbein students enrolled in management and nonprofit management courses during spring semester.

Professor of business, Dr. Shirine Mafi said her courses were two of four that split a $10,000 Pay It Forward grant from Ohio Campus Compact, which allowed teams of students to donate money to nonprofit organizations as part of a group project.

“We have worked with Ohio Campus Compact in the past, so when there was another opportunity, they contacted me,” Mafi said.

The students in each of the four courses were put into teams, and each team chose a different nonprofit organization with which to work and research. The teams were tasked with developing a report about the organization, including a thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.

“The goals of the course are to learn about management theories, to understand the interaction between an organization and its internal and external environment, to gain insights on some pressing issues facing the local community, and to realize and appreciate the challenges the executives of nonprofit organization face,” Mafi said.

Senior, sport management major and business administration minor Greg Moomaw was on the team that chose to work with PBJ Connections. “I think it is very powerful for all of us to see how our hard work can pay off in a real tangible way,” he said. “We worked hard to present the best information and give an agency $500. That’s not something that is common in the typical classroom experience, so getting to present something that meaningful made our team extremely proud.”

Chelsea Snyder, a sophomore, business administration major, was also on the team that worked with PBJ Connections. She said she was proud of the work her group put into the project, in order to give PBJ Connections a donation that will support five group therapy sessions this summer.

“I enjoyed learning more about a local nonprofit agency and having the chance to give actual money to an organization in need,” Snyder said. “I hope that PBJ Connections will take the suggestions that we gave them in the SWOT analysis and apply them to the way they operate.”

Junior, public accounting major Carson Wassmuth was on the team that chose to work with Habitat for Humanity, Mid-Ohio. “It was an honor to be able to give back to an amazing organization like Habitat for Humanity,” he said. “The people who work (there) are truly selfless and are changing the lives of families. The opportunity to give money that is going to build brand new homes for families is a great feeling, and one I will not soon forget.”