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Bigger than ourselves

Bigger than ourselves

Alyssa Smith '26 April 04, 2024

Each fall, students in the Sport Management Sales and Fundraising course compete in a philanthropy contest. The contest requires students to create a pitch for a nonprofit organization which they feel connected to. Each student presents their pitch to fellow classmates and create a video for a panel of judges comprised of alumni.

The entire contest is made possible through the Gary Mioli Leadership in Community Fund. Created in 2016, the fund honors UD alumnus and former UD football manager Gary Mioli ‘79, a man known for his dedication to leading young individuals on and off the football field. The fund has grown to more than $140,000, giving students the opportunity to make a meaningful impact for a nonprofit. So far, 34 organizations have been awarded more than $28,000.

Professor Titlebaum and Andy Mason stand together
Professor Peter Titlebaum and Andy Mason.

This year’s winner of the contest was senior Andy Mason who shared his passion for Children International, a nonprofit organization striving toward their mission of ending generational poverty.

Mason said he selected the organization “not for the charity itself but for the overall mission the charity attempted to achieve.”

Throughout Mason’s childhood, he treasured the inspiring experience of watching his mother, an educator of international students. When Andy was asked to pick a nonprofit organization for his pitch, he came to realize just how much helping his mother’s students truly had on him. 

“At one point my mom was the only ESL teacher at her school with over 30 children,” Mason said. “It’s almost like we can’t understand the things these children go through … we can’t even wrap our minds around.”

For his pitch, Andy shared the story of a young girl named Ayana who fled her home country to Ethiopia and lived most of her childhood in a refugee camp.

“She eventually was able to come over to the U.S. with her seven younger siblings without either of her parents.”

“When she got to my mom’s classroom, she could not even count her fingers and now she has graduated college and become a dental hygienist,” Mason said.

Children International



Through his mother’s devotion modeled to him throughout his childhood, Mason said he has found his passion. Professor Peter Titlebaum is proud of his students’ pitches this year, and was thrilled about Mason finding something he was truly passionate about. 

“When Andy grew up and saw what made his mom happy, to be a part of that and to appreciate [his] mom’s efforts whether Andy would admit it or not, was a soft spot for him,” Titlebaum said.

The professor said his course is teaching his students about each other and what drives them, more than anything else.

“We all care about something bigger than ourselves, and hearing students become vulnerable in front of their peers is the reason why the philanthropy tournament is important,” he said. “Students learn how to tell a story and connect to others.”

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