The University of Cincinnati Foundation

The University of Cincinnati Foundation

UC Students Climb Nippert Stadium Steps to Support Proudly Pennies

Fundraiser benefits student philanthropy and Cincinnati Zoo's Zoo-Mates
Nippert Stadium

CINCINNATI, May 11, 2011 – Student leaders of the University of Cincinnati’s Proudly Pennies campaign are challenging the UC and Greater Cincinnati community to climb all 1,482 steps in the lower bowl of UC’s Nippert Stadium during the first-ever Nippert Stadium Steps Challenge.

The fundraiser, set for Saturday, May 21, begins at 11:00 a.m. and supports the Proudly Pennies mission to raise one billion pennies - $10 million – to help enhance UC student life and programs. One objective of the student-led campaign is to foster students’ spirit of philanthropy and build upon the charitable opportunities available to students.

The Stadium Steps Challenge will specifically support Zoo-Mates, an innovative partnership among the UC Center for Community Engagement, Project Connect and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Through this mentorship program, 30 UC students are matched with Cincinnati Public Schools children who are experiencing homelessness.

“One of the most important pathways out of poverty is education,” said Kathy Dick, Director of Student Services at UC’s Center for Community Engagement. “Through their support as Zoo-Mates mentors, UC students play an integral role as positive influences in these children’s lives. It’s a great life lesson for our students in helping them understand their civic responsibilities and we are grateful to be partnering with the Proudly Pennies students.”

Event proceeds will enhance the Zoo-Mates program in several ways:

  • A Zoo Nocturnal Overnight for mentors and mentees
  • Transportation for Project Connect children to and from the weekly mentoring sites
  • Special activities in the community, such trips to the art museum or a field day at UC
  • Zoo-Mates t-shirts for program participants

“The Stadium Steps Challenge is a terrific opportunity for UC students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends to start their spring workout regimen and support student philanthropists who are making a difference in our community,” said Andy Koesterman, junior College of Business student and leader of the Proudly Pennies campaign.

Just over a year ago, leaders of UC’s Student Government introduced Proudly Pennies on in response to President Gregory Williams’ university-wide challenge to embrace and play a role in the most ambitious fundraising campaign in UC’s history. Proudly Cincinnati aims to raise $1 billion by June 2013.

Proudly Pennies supports the university’s advancement and aims to instill in students the importance of philanthropy. Hundreds of students have participated in the campaign to enhance student life and programs, many of which ultimately make a difference in the Greater Cincinnati community. Since Proudly Pennies launched in January 2010, students have raised more than $1.5 million for the university.

“Proudly Pennies provides a unique opportunity to cultivate a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy among our students while providing substantive leadership experience,” said Bleuzette Marshall, Senior Director of Development, Provost and Student Affairs for the UC Foundation. “Students are able to use their full measure of creativity in developing innovative fundraisers that help accelerate the transformation of our university.”

Participants in the Nippert Stadium Steps Challenge will receive a free T-shirt, food and drink with their $10 registration fee. Lucy the live “Bearcat” from the Cincinnati Zoo will be on site to visit with participants, and the Bearcat mascot will also be there to cheer everyone on and be available for photos.

To register online for the Nippert Stadium Steps Challenge, please visit

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