To raise money, each year Jesuit used to have students write 10 letters to either family or friends outside of the Jesuit community asking for donations, or their family could give $100. This system, named the Student Fundraiser, mainly targeted student’s families.
Replacing the Student Fundraiser, the Day of Giving is more oriented towards alumni and current students and staff. Students and teachers are asked to give just $3 to help support the Arrupe fund, which provides financial aid to students. Additionally, the alumni are also encouraged to give back to their community.
The donations were sorted by grade, each class competing to raise the most money. The class who raises the most money wins the class cup. This year, the freshman won the cup, and for the alumni, the class of 2008 won.
The Jesuit administration encouraged students to give in a variety of ways, using motivation including a Salt & Straw ice cream party for the class winner and donuts as prizes. At lunch, music played while students could watch their classmates dye faculty member’s hair green.
But why the change?
Vice President of Development Diane Salzman describes how Jesuit wanted a fundraiser focused on alumni support while lifting a potentially burdensome task for students to write to their family and friends.
“We wanted to have a fundraiser that was focused more on alumni and not have students feel obligated to reach out to their family and friends. [We didn’t want them to] have that pressure to write to their family and the obligation of producing a certain amount of money,” Salzman said.
Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Erika Tuenge also explains Jesuit’s motives to give students and alumni new challenges.
“I think it’s always important to keep it fresh and have new types of challenges for our community. [We also] find ways to increase alumni engagement, but doing it in different ways so they don’t see the same thing year after year.”
The Day of Giving turned out to be a huge success not only financially, but also in how the students and alumni felt about it.
The administration lowered their financial goals, as they were unsure of how the Day of Giving would compare to the Student Fundraiser. However, once the end of the day drew near, their expectations were surpassed.
Raising $193,000, we blew past the previous standing record of the student fundraiser, which was $171,000.
Not only did the Day of Giving raise more money than expected, but it also drew a sense of community within our school.
Theology Christina Barry says she felt the Day of Giving allowed the students to physically partake in giving back to their community and how that sparked a more compassionate and empathetic outlook on donating.
“People showed up. People gave from their hearts. I feel like people gave to where they felt it. Not just like giving your leftovers, but giving to the point where you feel it,” Barry said.
This day was a success for the alumni as well. Jesuit’s administration was surprised by how much the alums wanted to donate. Salzman talks about the alumni’s motivations to give back and how that brought them together.
Salzman said, “The alums [saw student’s] involvement and joy, [and] that inspired them to give back, [as it] brings back fond memories of their high school years.”
Junior Mia Cullivan adds, “I liked that it was targeted towards alumni rather than family relatives because I think past students would have a [greater] inclination to give back since they know Jesuit more personally.”