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Baldwin Wallace University celebrates the power of community partnerships

Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown addresses Northeast Ohio organizational leaders at BW’s annual partnership breakfast.



U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown jokes with Ebony Oliver of After School All Stars at BW’s annual Community Partner Breakfast.

Each year, more than 75 local nonprofit and civic organizations join with Baldwin Wallace University to serve as “co-educators,” giving students thousands of hours of real-world experiences while the organizations benefit from fresh young perspectives and energy. 

The David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement recently welcomed community partners to campus for an annual breakfast celebrating that collaboration.

Applauding a ‘greater mission’


As the event’s featured speaker, Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown gave attendees an inside look at the development of recent legislation in Washington that is aimed at addressing the needs of average Americans, noting that “a huge number of people in this country feel overlooked and ignored.”

Brown also thanked the people in the room for “believing in a mission greater than your own lives.”

The organizations represented by those in attendance have collaborated with BW to engage students in a variety of ways, including academic service-learning, community service, internships and other immersion experiences such as research projects.

Out to change the world

One of the more distinctive experiential learning opportunities is BW’s Jacket Philanthropy Program (JPP), which allows students to compete for real grant money to support a project at their assigned nonprofit volunteer site.

Partner breakfast attendee Angela Keeley, development associate at The Haven Home, said her nonprofit, which supports under-resourced women, hosted students enrolled in a JPP service-learning course this spring. A team of three students helped design a community outreach event that successfully earned a $2,000 JPP grant for The Haven Home.

Keeley says she was impressed by the students. “They were wonderful to work with and have such big goals and dreams to have an impact in the world.”

Future collaboration

“These are mutually beneficial partnerships,” said Marsita Ferguson, the Brain Center’s interim director. “We are always looking to add nonprofit organizations who’d like to work with student leaders to develop reciprocal programs that meet community needs.”

Nonprofit organizations looking to develop new partnerships with the David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement are encouraged to meet with a staff member to discuss the possibilities. Contact the staff at (440) 826-2403 or

US Senator Sherrod Brown (center), Dr. Timeka Rashid, VP for Student Affairs (left) and Marsita Ferguson, interim director of BW’s David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement (right).

BW’s July 28 Community Partner Breakfast featured U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, pictured here with Dr. Timeka Rashid, VP for Student Affairs (left), and Marsita Ferguson, interim director of BW’s David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement (right).

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