50thAnniversary
Tue, May 27, 2014

Union Enrollment Counselor Launches a Nonprofit Foundation

Union Institute & University enrollment counselor Jason Chapman

Union Institute & University enrollment counselor Jason Chapman

Cincinnati, OH – Jason D. Chapman is passionate about helping people. It is that passion that led him to a career with Union Institute & University as an enrollment counselor and to start the nonprofit charity Midwest Project.

“I share Union’s values and beliefs in the intellectual capacity of each individual to find their voice and vehicles to transform lives and communities,” said the 29-year-old enrollment counselor.

That philosophy led Jason and two friends, Rodrigo Williams and Kenneth Bibb, to start the nonprofit Midwest Project with a twist – use social media to let the community know of someone in need and utilize social media for donations.

“For the past three Thanksgivings, we have fed families using our own money,” said Jason.

“Last fall, we were attending a tailgating party. We were so busy having fun that we were completely oblivious to those in need right outside the gate. With more than enough food to spare, the question of offering plates to those looking in was raised. While the gesture was kindhearted, it was met with strong apprehension. What if they were offended by the offer of food? What if fellow tailgaters disapproved of our generosity?

To our surprise, our plates of food were received with grace and humility. Our acts of kindness were observed and then repeated by other partygoers.

The next day, members of our group told stories via social media about the tailgate party. Those friends vowed to give food to those in need at every single tailgate party. Interest from people willing to help cook and donate money flooded our social media inboxes. Not only did our generosity initiate an evening of giving, but the stories we shared encouraged people from across the Midwest to give,” said Jason.

He believes there is a disconnect between his generation and giving because they live and work on their cell phones where communication is instant and in real time.

“My peers are social media kids. We expect instant, immediate gratification,” said Jason.

“We live on our cell phones. It’s how we live and work.”

The Midwest Project will work this way: When a need is identified, a fundraising event will be announced through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The donors will be highlighted with name recognition instantaneously and invited to participate, if they wish. In addition, the foundation will entertain any and all ideas to help people.

“Donors will know exactly how the money was used because each and every detail will be posted,” said Jason. “We will be completely transparent at all times.”

The first fundraiser is for Jeanelle James, Woodward Career Technical High School graduate, who in spite of dire circumstances graduated first in her class and received a college scholarship. The goal is to raise funds for college expenses.

Jason, a Purcell Marian High School, University of Dayton, and Xavier University graduate, believes he is in the right place at the right time.

“I love helping people.”

Learn about the Midwest Project at www.themidwestproject.org.

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