MG – History of Magnified Giving

From Local Colleges to Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky High Schools

Magnified Giving was founded in 2008 by Mr. Roger Grein, an active philanthropist in the Greater Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky area.  However the foundation of Magnified Giving was built many years ago.

In 2001, after having lunch with Roger Grein, then Northern Kentucky University President Dr. James Vortuba informally shared a new idea with Roger.  He casually mentioned that The Mayerson Foundation had sponsored a class at NKU for students to invest money into local non-profit agencies.  The light bulb went off in Roger’s head, and this was the spark that changed his life and has profoundly affected the lives of thousands of young men and women over the past decade!

Roger quickly became a champion for this hands-on philanthropy model and shared it with University presidents across the midwest, pledging his financial support while the program could gain traction and take hold at each institution. Roger shared the story and vision with Xavier University, The College of Mount St. Joseph, and then with more than a dozen other College and University Presidents.  Roger’s passion for helping college students truly understand the importance of philanthropy and the power they have in contributing to the fabric of the community has led to 34 colleges and universities embracing his philanthropy education model.  The program continues today, fully managed by Ohio Campus Compact and funded by a national grant provided by the National Corporation for Service Learning.

Making a Difference at an Earlier Age

With amazing success at the collegiate level, Roger wanted to give high school students the same opportunity to learn how to become engaged, educated philanthropists.  Given the opportunity, he wanted to help teach and inspire high school students to learn that the secret of living is giving, helping young people across Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky experience hands-on philanthropy education in their classrooms, or as part of extracurricular programs.  In 2008, Roger asked Mount Notre Dame teacher Mr. Todd Forman to help with the leadership and development of this program.

Year One: High School Pilot Program (2008-2009)

A variety of high schools were invited to participate in the program for the 2008-2009 school year.  This list included both public and private schools located in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  Teachers at the 8 pilot schools explored how to best implement the program within their schools – as part of a traditional academic class (English, Social Studies, etc…), as part of a community service class, as a focus for an existing extracurricular club or organization, or perhaps as a standalone philanthropy program.  Working with Mr. Forman, these teachers developed curricula, created basic educational materials, shared experiences, and worked together to bring philanthropy education alive within their respective schools.  Students, teachers, parents, agency representatives and funders gathered together on May 14, 2009 at Hebrew Union College to award grants and celebrate their successes.

Year Two (2009-2010)

During year two, 13 high schools were chosen to participate for the 2009-2010 school year.  Like last year, this list included both public and private schools located in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  Six of the schools were new, while seven schools were continuing to develop the program.  The year was a terrific success, and students, teachers, parents, agency representatives and funders gathered together on May 13, 2010 at Hebrew Union College to once again present the grants and celebrate their successful implementation of the program.

Year Three (2010-2011)

The foundation had been set, and our program grew to 15 high schools for the 2010-2011 school year. The program continued to include both public and private schools located in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  The year was an amazing success. Having outgrown the auditorium at Hebrew Union College, on May 11, 2011 we gathered at Mount Notre Dame to once again present the grants, hear from the student philanthropists and the agencies they funded, and to honor a student and a teacher with the First Annual Roger Grein Spirit of Philanthropy award.  Over 250 students, teachers, parents, funders, agency reps, and friends of Magnified Giving attended and participated in the Award Ceremony.

Year Four (2011 – 2012)

This past year we funded 22 schools and the list of interested schools kept growing. On May 8, 2012, we gathered at the Mayerson Jewish Community Center for our Award Ceremony.  Over 350 people witnessed an amazing evening, and over $30,000 in grant money was distributed.  Mr. Doug Heesten, retired from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, was hired to help with the financial growth of Magnified Giving.  Our Board of Directors expanded from four to eight, welcoming Mr. Bill Keating Jr., Mr. Paul S. Keating, Mrs. Jane Meier, and Mr. Stewart M. Greenlee.

Year Five (2012 – 2013)

This past year 35 schools and programs and the list of interested schools kept growing. We welcomed schools from Dayton and Perry, OH (near Cleveland) to our program, as well as our first Madeira Middle School (our first non-high school program), and students on the Northern Kentucky Youth Advisory Board (from 15 different northern Kentucky high schools.)  On April 30, 2013, we gathered at McAuley High School’s Performing Arts Center for our Award Ceremony.  Over 700 people witnessed an amazing evening, and over $50,000 in grant money was distributed.

Year Six (2013 – 2014)

Our program grew to 50 programs for the 2013-2014 year, expanding our reach to new schools in Ohio and Kentucky.  Our Board of Directors also grew as we added Mr. Tony Reed and Mr. Mike Sussli to our team.  (Both Tony and Mike have daughters that participated in the program and understand the impact the program can have on students!)  We expanded our Awards Ceremony program to include three programs – one for northern Kentucky schools and two for Ohio schools.  Over 1300 people attended our ceremonies where nearly $75,000 was granted to deserving non-profit organizations.

Year Seven (2014 – 2015)

Magnified Giving’s(MG) Board of Directors and Founder, Roger Grein, took the next step toward institutionalizing the non-profit organization for sustainability. The board began a search for the organization’s first Executive Director, resulting in the hiring of Mrs. Kelly Collison.  Four new members joined the board: Mr. Drew Myers, Ms. Katie Herschede Phd., Mr. Jon Sanchez and Mr. Josh Fendley. There were three awards ceremonies celebrating the most successful year in funds raised, number of students and schools participating, number of grants awarded, and the number of people supported by the record number of agencies supported. It was a year of “firsts.”  Magnified Giving had four summer interns working in development. Ms. Zai Johns (MND ’12) became the first student donor to create a matching grant for MG. The first alumni student is elected to the board, Ms. Katelyn Sussli (MND ‘12).


Program Funding

Financial support for the Magnified Giving program comes from generous funding from Mr. Roger Grein, several substantial anonymous donations, and over 300 individual donors.  Our donor base continues to grow, and we are always eager for more people to partner with us in this educational endeavor.  Contact Kelly Collison ( if you would like to learn how you can join us.

Future Plans

We are excited about the growth that is taking place and have big plans for the future.

Here are just a few of the ways we continue to grow each year:
• continue to increase the number of high school students experiencing hands-on about philanthropy education
• increase the amount of funding we provide to each school to make an even greater impact
• continue to develop educational resources for the teachers and students
• provide continued teacher support and a increased stipend time investment
• strengthen relationships with NPOs to form educational partnerships
• develop service, educational and fundraising opportunities for students
• develop a mentoring program for the budding philanthropists
• continue to improve measurement tools and develop best practices
• help partner schools to become financially self-sufficient as they continue to develop their program
• develop corporate partnerships to help provide additional funding for our partner schools
• connect with other educational philanthropic organizations around the country that share our vision