Pay It Forward!

The OSUM Pay It Forward Project evolved from the federal Pay It Forward Student Philanthropy Initiative, which addresses critical economic needs in communities through student-led grant making and volunteerism. As part of our commitment to sustain the federal Pay It Forward Philanthropy Initiative’s philosophy, United Way of Marion County and The Ohio State University at Marion have provided grant funds totaling $4000 for this semester’s English 2367.01S course. With this project, in the classroom and via site visits, students learn about community needs and the efforts of local organizations to meet those needs. They will request and evaluate proposals from several organizations, then determine how to award grant money of up to $4000 through a competitive process. Through this work, it is our hope for students to learn the important role philanthropy plays in sustaining and improving our local community, to apply academic course content in service to the community, and to become engaged citizens.


To be involved in the initiative, an organization must be a 501(c)3 non-profit and a United Way of Marion County partner agency or related organization, with a project that responds to one or more of the following needs areas: health, education, income or safety net. These projects must benefit the local community of Marion County.

Application & Evaluation Process

Those wishing to participate must complete and submit a grant proposal by February 5, 2021. The Request for Proposal, grant application and evaluation process mirrors the one currently used by the United Way of Marion County. Students will review the grant applications in February and select three finalists.

These three organizations will work with the students throughout the semester (February-April). During this time, students will engage in (at least) three specified interaction times, all of which will take place online, over Zoom. The first will be an informational session allowing them to familiarize themselves with the practices of the organization. The second will be interviews with either administrators, volunteers, individuals served by the organization, or some combination of these groups. The final online visit will be for our Celebration Awards Ceremony.  Each of these visits will last approximately an hour and will be held via Zoom during class time, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30a.m. – 10:50a.m.

After the information session, interviews, and research, students will decide how the funding will be awarded. Up to three organizations can receive funding per semester. Those chosen to receive an award will receive no less than $500, and the maximum award is $4,000. Funds will be awarded at a celebration ceremony at the end of the semester (April date TBD). After receiving funds, a project liaison will visit all grant recipients to evaluate how the funds were used and the impact of the grant funds.

Click here to print the RFP.

Grant Application

Marion-area non-profit organizations may apply for Pay It Forward grant funds by completing the application below. Please provide as much detail as possible about your organization and its community impact. APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.


If you have any questions or concerns about either eligibility or the process, please feel free to contact Amy Tibbals via email at or by phone at (614) 595-2682.

Review Process & Tools

Blue and gray logo reading Clear Impact Academy and Certified Results-Based Accountability Professional

Special thanks to our UWNCO Bold Goal Champions.