Philanthropy Week celebrates nonprofits, environment

Canopy, a nonprofit that aims to help improve Kentucky businesses, will be speaking in the Curris Center theater at 7 p.m. today (Photo courtesy of

Ava Chuppe, Senior Writer

The nonprofit leadership studies  program is hosting Philanthropy Week with a “Nonprofits and the Environment” theme for its first year with in-person activities.

The week was originally to be conducted in person when it began in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans. This year’s events will be the first to occur in person since Philanthropy Week began.

The Nonprofit Resource Center, the Department of Organizational Communication and Leadership and the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business made the event possible.

Elise Kieffer, assistant professor and director of the NLS program, said Philanthropy Week is intended to give students an opportunity to engage with the nonprofit sector.

“These events are intended to be campuswide,” Kieffer said. “This is the first year that we’ve had a focus, as opposed to just all of nonprofit and philanthropy. Because of the really horrible natural disasters we’ve experienced in Kentucky the last few years, the tornadoes and the flooding, we decided to focus on conservational advocacy and education.”

University alumna Shelly Morris gave a lecture titled “The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky” on Monday, April 17.

NLS students also gave various presentations on environmental nonprofits on Tuesday, April 18 as a requirement for their Nonprofits and the Environment course.

The Louisville-based entity Canopy is hosting the keynote presentation in the Curris Center theater at 7 p.m. today. Canopy aims to promote best practices within the for-profit sector and certifies Kentucky businesses for their work toward social and environmental impact.

To close Philanthropy Week, the Nonprofit Resource Center will conduct the Donna Herndon Award for Civic Engagement Ceremony in the Business Building on Friday, April 21.

“The award was established to recognize recipients who embody Donna’s steadfast and compelling commitment to philanthropy and civic engagement,” according to a University press release.

A graduating student also will receive the Nonprofit Senior of the Year Award on Friday.

“No matter what our job is in the nonprofit sector, at some point, you’re going to be part of…either a fundraiser or a networking or advocacy event,” Kieffer said. “We try to give our students opportunities to participate in and even plan and coordinate these kinds of events.”

Kieffer said she values Philanthropy Week because it reminds people the NLS program is active.

“Nonprofit as a field of study is relatively new,” Kieffer said. “Really, for maybe only the past 20 years, have you been able to get a degree in nonprofit. …By doing these kinds of events, we are educating the campus that we are here and that we are interactive and that it’s something fun to be a part of. Not just fun but impactful.”

Anyone with questions about Philanthropy Week or the NLS program can contact Kieffer at (270) 809-3307 or [email protected].