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Strive to Thrive Lincoln Student Blog – Fall 2022

Fall 2022 Strive to Thrive Student Blog
The Leading People and Projects (MNGT 411) course gives these College of Business students the opportunity to dive into philanthropy where, thanks to generous donors, they get to award $10,000 in grants to two local nonprofits at the end of the semester.

A new group of College of Business students hit the ground running as this Fall 2022 semester begins. The Leading People and Projects (MNGT 411) course, also known as “Strive to Thrive Lincoln,” gives these students a great opportunity to work with local nonprofits in Lincoln and grow as philanthropists. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Rhonda Seacrest, the partnership with College of Business and the Learning by Giving Foundation, students will allocate $5,000 each to two local nonprofits. This course provides an experiential learning opportunity for students and a chance for them to work together to serve their community.

12/01/2022: Strive to Thrive - Finalizing Another Productive Semester

The class awarded grants to two local nonprofits at a ceremony.
The class awarded grants to two local nonprofits at a ceremony.

Our MNGT 411 class finally came to a decision and awarded our two grants, each worth $5,000, to St. Monica’s Home and The Arc of Lincoln on November 21. Our devoted recipients were extremely thankful for the donation, our classwork throughout the semester and how we conducted the grant ceremony. We also expressed our gratitude towards these nonprofits allowing us to be a part of their growth and volunteerism going forward. While we attended the ceremony, we could see and feel how deeply this ceremony resonated with everyone in attendance especially the organizations that won the grant as each spoke about their story.

For our recipients, we as a class thought these organizations had the most focus towards our class mission for their current and future visions. St. Monica’s Home was selected because of their commitment to the sobriety of women of all ages through empowerment, stability and self-fulfillment, while providing resources to do so. The Arc of Lincoln’s focus is to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to promote and protect their rights and interests, while enriching the quality of their lives. Both organizations were exactly what our class was looking for in these recipients and we couldn’t have been happier with the results.

The grant ceremony hosted celebrated the nonprofits.
The grant ceremony hosted celebrated St. Monica's Home and The Arc of Lincoln, as well as the work of the Strive to Thrive Lincoln class.

Thanks to the grant ceremony task group for setting up the event in a professional and welcoming manner. We were able to hear from many guest speakers including Bill Radtke, the executive director at Good Life Community Development and Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business. We also heard from our own professor, Amber Messersmith, and Rhonda Seacrest, who was able to make this whole ceremony and process possible for the students of MNGT 411.

Going forward, our last two weeks are focused towards taking in everything we just accomplished and how we want to continue our impact through the community. We will be reflecting a lot over the site visits, grant ceremony and main fundamentals of philanthropy considering how we impacted the Lincoln community. This course pushed each individual in it to be inspired on how much serving can impact organizations and communities around us and we are truly grateful for the resources given to us.

Thank you for joining our class on this journey, and we encourage everyone to think about how they can impact their community every day.

11/14/22 - Strive to Thrive Lincoln: Site Visits, Presentations and Deliberations

The Public Relations Task Group visited Educare Lincoln
The Public Relations Task Group visited Educare Lincoln.
The Public Relations Task Group also visited the Food Fort
The Public Relations Task Group also visited the Food Fort.

Site Visits
During Week 11, tasks groups visited one NPO for Monday and another NPO for Wednesday reaching all 12 site visit finalists. Our 12 site visit finalists were Center for People in Need, Community Action Partnership, Family Service Lincoln, Hopespoke, Lighthouse, Visionary Youth, The Arc of Lincoln, Nebraska Transitional College, Educare, Food Fort, Big Brothers Big Sisters and St. Monica's. This was a great experience for each member of the class to see exactly what each NPO is doing in our own community and the huge impact they make. While at the site visit, each student asked prepared questions to organizers to learn more about the organization. During Week 12, students will then present their site visit experiences back to the entire class. Being able to hear success stories and see firsthand the differences in our community, upcoming deliberations will sure be tough in order to decide our finalists.

Site Visit Presentations
Last week the Public Relations task group was fortunate enough to be able to visit Educare Lincoln as well as Food Fort in our round of site visits. This experience gave us a great way to be able to see firsthand of what each NPO is accomplishing and record notes in order to present back to our peers in class. This week during class, each task group is scheduled to present on their two site visits, totaling six different group presentations, which will encompass all 12 remaining NPO’s. On Wednesday, we finished all presentations and were also able to remind ourselves of our class mission statement. Afterwards, we started a discussion of each nonprofit to help ourselves later in the deliberation process for next week. It was evident to see the eagerness in everyone in class as we had organic conversations about the NPO’s and how they relate to our class mission statement. We had some very deep and thoughtful conversations, and it was great to see everyone in class taking part in such an important conversation.

Continued Deliberations
Next week we are excited to continue deliberations and narrow our 12 site visit organizations down to the remaining five NPO’s. It is truly amazing to see how far we have come and how quick this semester has gone! It is shocking to believe that the Fall 2022 Grant Ceremony is already approaching on November 21! We hope to see you see you there where we will announce our two recipients of the Strive to Thrive Lincoln Grant!


10/24/22 - Strive to Thrive: In-class Deliberations Day Two and Preparing for Site Visits

On Monday, we finished the first round of deliberations of the original 22 NPO’s. Emotions were high for some of us, as we put a lot of belief into certain NPO’s and wanted to help serve them; but, the list had to be narrowed to 12. We will be taking site visits to these remaining 12 before conducting our second round of deliberation. To prepare, we reflected on our goals for these site visits.

On Wednesday, we gained insight about our position as a funder and the power dynamic present during a site visit. The proper etiquette and attire was addressed to us, as well as what materials we might need to bring. We also divided ourselves into our task groups and will each have a member from the site visit group as a leader.

As we close the book on Week 10, we look forward to site visits starting next week. We only have seven weeks left as a class and are looking to further our relationships with these NPO’s in order to find our recipients.

10/13/22 - Strive to Thrive: Mid-semester Madness

strive to thrive group
A group of MNGT 411 students visited the People's City Mission Help Center for their service project.

Welcome back to the Strive to Thrive blog!

The students of MNGT 411 have been hard at work recently as we’ve began our service projects, finalizing our white papers, listening to our fantastic guest speakers and deciding on a class t-shirt! We’ve certainly had our hands full as we near the middle of the semester.

Service Projects

A few groups of students recently participated in their service projects. One group visited the People’s City Mission Help Center here in Lincoln. The center provides food, clothing, hygiene products, household items and furniture for those who need it. Everything they give out to the community is provided solely through donations. The group was given a tour of the facility and briefed on what they would be doing for the day. This consisted of sorting through donations, handing out food and helping customers shop. The group said this was a very fun experience and it got them excited to go on their site visits coming up soon! Be sure to keep an eye on the @strive2thrivenu Instagram for more on these site visits.

strive to thrive speaker
Jim Blue and Christina Lloyd spoke with the class about their organization, shared stories, and answered any questions we had.

Finalizing Our NPO White Papers

We mentioned in a previous blog post that we were working on our white papers, and now we have them all finished! The NPO (nonprofit organization) white papers are our way of nominating an organization to be considered for our grant process. Students partnered up and selected, researched, and spoke with a nonprofit of their choosing to get a better understanding of the organization and explain in their paper why they should be considered for one of our grants this semester. With all 22 white papers submitted, our Grant Administration team have organized all of them for the class to review. Everyone in the class will read each individual paper to learn about all the organizations so that we can start deliberations after fall break!

Guest Speakers From 2021 Grant Recipients CEDARS Youth Services

We had the honor of having Jim Blue and Christina Lloyd from CEDARS Youth Services come to our class and speak with us about their organization. As past grant recipients, they were so excited to be back! They shared stories about themselves, what services their organization offers and stories about some of their clients. We always love having guest speakers in class as it gives us an inside look at the organizations some of us have been researching. Thank you Jim and Christina for your time!

Class T-shirts

One of the Public Relations team’s very own Sara Knips has worked with 402ink to design this year’s Strive to Thrive t-shirts! After presenting them to the class and deciding on a design, we are expecting to get them in soon to wear on our site visits, so be on the lookout!

We are excited to continue to give you a glimpse into Strive to Thrive. We greatly appreciate the support. Thanks for stopping by!

9/29/22 - Strive to Thrive: Planning Service Projects, Completing Our Mission Statement and Drafting Our White Papers

strive to thrive group
The service projects group helps connect the class to nonprofit organizations and setting up dates for service projects.

Hello again everyone!

We have had a busy couple of weeks of utilizing the information we learned at the beginning of the semester to make mindful decisions about our service projects, class mission statement and researching organizations to be candidates for our grants. Our class has been busy working on projects as a class and individual tasks that keep us engaged and busy.

Kicking Off Service Projects
Our service project team has been hard at work the past few weeks, reaching out to organizations to set up dates for MNGT 411 students to visit to connect and serve. Nine nonprofits included in the past semester’s grant processes plan to host small groups of students for a few hours to teach about their organizations and the communities they support. These site visits start in the upcoming weeks and span throughout the semester. Check out the @strive2thrivenu Instagram page for updates from groups about their visits!

Our Mission Statement

strive to thrive group
Amber Messersmith helped the class form a mission statement and shared insight from previous semesters.

One of the first and most essential steps to starting our grant process was coming together as a class and deciding on shared values and communities we wanted to serve. Amber Messersmith, lecturer of management, helped lead and facilitate mindful discussions as our class shared their passions and perspectives. As conversations continued, it was clear we wanted to donate our grant to an organization that promotes long-term changes in people's lives. Finally, after two days of deliberation, we confidently landed on our 2022 mission statement.

“Strive to Thrive Lincoln provides Nebraska Business students in the Management 411 class with the opportunity to grant funds to organizations that will foster long-term generational change in underrepresented Lincoln/Lancaster County families and individuals by providing them with developmental resources.”

We are excited to have this foundational statement to work from as we start electing nonprofits as candidates and continue with the grant process.

Doing Research & Starting Our Nonprofit White Papers
This week MNGT 411 students paired up to elect a nonprofit in Lincoln/Lancaster County they believe represents our mission. This is the beginning of our grant process! Throughout the next week, we will research and interview these organizations before continuing to craft our white papers. Now that we have started our papers, the next couple of weeks are said to fly by, but our class is excited to do mindful research and continue serving Lincoln!

As the semester is going by quickly, we are excited to update you on what we are up to. Thank you for the support and tuning in; we hope to see you back in a couple of weeks!

9/19/22 – Strive to Thrive Lincoln: Just Getting Started

strive to thrive group
Meet the Public Relations group from MNGT 411, they will be posting to this blog every other week and keeping you up on all things Strive to Thrive.

We are College of Business students embarking on an amazing experiential learning opportunity through the Leading People and Projects (MNGT 411) course. Throughout the semester, our goal is to grow as philanthropists, serve our community and learn more about the local nonprofit organizations in Lincoln, Nebraska. We are just four weeks into the Fall 2022 semester and we have already learned and accomplished so much.

This semester, we started by expanding our knowledge on philanthropy and gaining a new perspective after reading “A Lesson on Philanthropy From Martin Luther King Jr.” which states, “We might recognize that philanthropy is not one thing, but rather a continuum that spans from charity on one side to justice on the other.”

We were very fortunate to gain more insight into our community with a visit from Lori Seibel, president of the Community Health Endowment (CHE). She spoke about the Place Matters Community Mapping Project that CHE has been doing for several years to see how where we live, learn and work affects our health. This provided us with a more detailed scope of our community and where our community can best be served.

Our class was also very happy to be joined by Jim Croft, Ph.D., JW Croft Consulting Group, Chicago, and instructor in the MBA@Nebraska program over Zoom. We discussed what a nonprofit organization is in more detail and reviewed the IRS Form 990, which our class will be looking at this semester for each local nonprofit that will be considered for our donation. This donation to two local nonprofits will be our main focus this semester and it was great to learn more about the research process and get advice from guest speaker Kathy Steinauer Smith, senior community investment director at Woods Charitable Fund Inc.

Learning about philanthropic work and our responsibility in this class, and as a community, to serve others has been very eye opening. We recently discussed as a class the article, “In the Service of Life” by Rachel Remen, which redefined serving for us. It showed us the great difference between the words serving, helping and fixing. Now knowing the impact these words have, our class is more determined to serve our community rather than just “help and fix it.” Our hope is to take away from our service just as much as we give to it, just as Remen said in her article.

“I am as served as the person I am serving. When I help I have a feeling of satisfaction. When I serve I have a feeling of gratitude,” Remen said.

We encourage you to follow along with our blog as the public relations group posts every other week! See how our class progresses as philanthropists and stay up to date on all that Strive to Thrive Lincoln accomplishes this semester.

Published: December 5, 2022