UNIVERSITY PARK – Earlier this summer, all Big Ten universities were given a portion of what would have been Penn State’s football bowl revenues from the previous season, to distribute to child-focused causes close to their hearts.
Big Ten officials provided $188,344 to each university in the conference to donate to a local organization of their choice, whose primary focus is on protecting children and advocating on behalf of children. The money for each of the 12 schools in the Big Ten represents one-twelfth of the revenue Penn State would have earned during the 2013 bowl season — a total of nearly $2.3 million — had the Nittany Lions been allowed to participate in post-season play.
Penn State was banned from 2013 bowl game participation as part of Big Ten sanctions that were handed down following the investigation of child sexual abuse by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The NCAA also banned the Nittany Lions football program from competing in postseason play.
Penn State worked with the Centre County United Way (CCUW) to determine the distribution of its portion of this one-time infusion of resources.
“The need to prevent child abuse and to advocate for victims of abuse are causes that have been historically under-recognized across the nation,” said Tammy Gentzel, CCUW executive director. “We and our partner agencies have worked to educate our neighbors regarding these issues. As a result, in collaboration with others, we have identified our greatest needs to be training all adults to act on suspicions of abuse and providing all children with an advocate to help protect them from abuse. These funds have allowed us to make significant strides in achieving both goals and will help to keep our children safe.”
The Big Ten universities have allocated their portions of the funds to the following organizations in their local communities:
– Indiana University distributed its funds equally to three charitable organizations in Bloomington, earmarked for children’s programming: the United Way of Monroe County, theBoys and Girls Club, and the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.
– Michigan State University has partnered with the Community Foundation Fund of Southeast Michigan to establish the MSU Big Ten Fund for Kids Endowment, to support and promote child safety and success by addressing adverse health factors with an emphasis on the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse. A portion of the initial gift has been designated as a challenge match to ensure the long-term availability of resources to address adverse health factors affecting children.
– Northwestern University will donate its funds to six youth protection and service agencies located in Evanston and Chicago: Metropolitan Family Services of Evanston/Skokie Valley, theMoran Center for Youth Advocacy, YWCA Evanston/North Shore, Youth Organizations Umbrella, the Night Ministry and Northwestern Settlement. Among the variety of services these organizations offer are abuse intervention and mental health services, domestic violence programs, homeless shelters, pre-school and after-school programs, summer enrichment camps and advocacy for children in the courts and the community.
– Ohio State University plans to divide its portion of the funds between two local child-advocacy organizations, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Family Safety and Healing in Columbus, and the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Franklin County, which involves volunteers who become guardians ad litem for children from neglected or abusive homes who are placed in foster care.
– Penn State opted to channel its funds through the Centre County United Way, which will allocate the money equally between Stewards of Children, an awareness program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and report child sexual abuse, and is designed for organizations that serve youth and for individuals concerned about the safety of children; and the Children’s Advocacy Center, operated by Mount Nittany Health, which will provide a centralized location for all of the necessary services, including medical care, for children who have been abused.
– Purdue University is donating the funds to four local groups: Read to Succeed, a volunteer program for community members to help children learn to read; College Mentors for Kids, which pairs children in grades 1-6 with college student mentors; PALS, a program that aims to inspire kids to stay active and healthy; and Junior Achievement, an organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
– The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shared its portion of the revenues among four organizations, with help from the United Way of Champaign County: the Children’s Advocacy Center of Champaign County, the Court Appointed Special Advocate program, Crisis Nursery, and Rape Advocacy, Counseling and Education Services. Each agency will receive an equal amount, with some of the funding set aside for the four to work together with United Way to provide a program for the community focusing on education and awareness.
– The University of Iowa is planning to distribute its funds through the United Way of Johnson County, which will determine the appropriate recipient organizations.
– The University of Michigan chose the following three local charities: the Washtenaw Area Council for Children, which promotes child safety and prevents child abuse and neglect through educational services and programs for children, parents, community members and youth-serving professionals; the Washtenaw Child Advocacy Center, which brings county police, prosecutors and the Department of Human Services together to work collaboratively on investigating child abuse cases and helping abused children and their families; and theAnn Arbor Area Community Foundation.
– The University of Minnesota will donate its portion of the funds to the Greater Twin Cities United Way, which will determine the appropriate recipient organizations.
– The University of Nebraska-Lincoln shared its portion with the Nebraska CASA Association for Children, which partners with local CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) programs to recruit and train volunteers who speak in court for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children.
– The University of Wisconsin-Madison divided its portion equally between nonprofit organization Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, which partners with law enforcement, human services agencies and district attorneys’ offices to make child abuse investigations less traumatic for children and to hold child abusers accountable; and youth development program Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.