By Kelly Young
IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is on a mission–through Mission Possible–to financially support students who demonstrate a passion for the school and a commitment to pursuing a future in philanthropy.
The annual student competition encourages students to answer the question: “What is your personal philanthropic mission statement?” The top submissions are awarded scholarships in recognition of their commitment to the philanthropic sector.
Due to COVID-19, undergraduate and graduate students were invited to submit a 2-3 minute video and present virtually. Following an interview by the school’s Board of Visitors, the top students were selected.
The first-place winners at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels received a $1,000 scholarship, second place received a $500 scholarship, and the third-place winner received a $250 scholarship.
All six students will also have the opportunity to meet leading Hoosier philanthropists Cindy Simon Skjodt, Rob Smith, and Tiffany Benjamin.
The overall enthusiasm and originality from the winning students were remarkable. Each exhibited a longstanding connection with philanthropy, some dating back to early childhood experiences of giving back as a family.
A strong, evident commitment to continue the spirit of generosity through philanthropic studies was widespread among the students. It was exciting to hear how each student plans to embrace this gift and opportunity to support their pursuit of philanthropy.
While all six are worth mentioning–and I recommend watching each of their videos to learn more–I wanted to give recognition to the top winners in each category.
First place: Aimee Albright
A mother’s love and commitment to honor the memories of her two daughters led her to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Through her studies, Albright wants to gain the knowledge and skills to be a successful philanthropist and enhance her work with the Melanie and Rosalie Albright Foundation.
Her daughters both found joy in life through participating in theatre, while battling cystic fibrosis–a battle they ultimately lost. Albright runs the foundation while pursuing her degree in philanthropy.
The scholarship will support her education while strengthening her ability to run a successful organization. She created the foundation in loving memory of her two daughters. The foundation provides scholarships and performance opportunities to young people wishing to participate in all aspects of theatre.
“The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy will give me the knowledge that I need to be able to help the Melanie and Rosalie Albright Foundation be successful in making a positive impact on young people’s lives,” Albright said.
First place: Afshan Paarlberg
As a child of immigrants and a long-time immigration attorney, Paarlberg is keenly aware of the challenges individuals of marginalized communities face. She is a mission-driven attorney who feels called to philanthropy to support her passion of protecting human rights and fostering diversity and inclusion of marginalized voices.
She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, where she believes learning from industry experts and leading researchers will help her along her journey to develop solutions and help others.
“The gravitational pull toward philanthropy was undeniable for me and the return to school was one of the best decisions of my life,” Paarlberg said. “The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has provided warmth and mentorship during my research and as I move into applying for the Ph.D. program.”
Congratulations to the top six winners:
First place – Aimee Albright
Second place – Maren Lehman
Third place – Caleb Johnson
First place – Afshan Paarlberg
Second place – Keenan Harrell
Third place – Shivant Shrestha
Kelly Young, president of Baise Communications, is an award-winning public relations counselor with 25+ years of experience in working with nonprofit and small businesses. She has worked in nearly every capacity of public relations throughout her career and has a proven track record of success in media relations, social media, brand management, communications planning, and community relations. She has built a strong reputation within the community and is sought after for her industry expertise and thought leadership. Kelly is a natural storyteller and an enthusiastic advocate for causes.