Fostering a community of change agents is one of the key priorities for Reese Blair ’98 and Christian O’Brien ’13 in their second year as co-chairs of the National Alumni Board’s diverse alumni council.
The University is celebrating its annual Day of Giving on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, bringing together Hawks from around the world to benefit current and future students.
The day will revolve around a 24-hour fundraising campaign with gift challenges that address different areas of financial need across the University. There will also be opportunities to get involved virtually, such as volunteering as a Giving Day Ambassador and sharing stories of impact on social media with the hashtag #StJoesGives.
“It’s been a tough year, but I think we Hawks are resilient,” says Michael Rath, director of Saint Joseph’s Fund. “My hope is that on this day, the feast day of our patron saint, we’ll fly together and show our support.”
With this year’s eight fundraising challenges, members of the University community will have an incentive to participate and make a contribution to an area that speaks to them, Rath says.
They can participate in the following challenges, most of which have donors who are pledging to match contributions:
Saint Joseph’s Fund: This challenge funds financial aid and merit scholarships for Saint Joseph’s students. Jim Norris ’85, chair of the Board of Trustees, and his wife Dinae ’87, will match every gift up to $30,000. They’ll also give an additional $10,000 for every 50 students in the Class of 2021 who make a gift.
Student in Need Fund: This challenge helps cover expenses such as textbooks, school supplies, emergency medical costs and more for current students who need support financially.
Hawk Athletics: Hawk fans and current and former student-athletes can all make a gift to support the team of their choice through smaller challenges backed by Rick DeRose ’87.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: This newest challenge helps fund several diversity, equity and inclusion projects at SJU, including the DEI Strategic Innovation Fund and Ready to Launch Funding Initiative. Reese Blair ’98, co-chair of the National Alumni Board’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, will match all gifts to the DEI Strategic Innovation Fund one-to-one (up to $5,000).
Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support: By participating in this challenge, donors help make the Kinney Center’s summer camp more accessible to families who are experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic. And if the Kinney Center receives 100 donations by 12 p.m. on March 19, Frank Reagoso ’73 will contribute $10,000 in scholarship funds for campers with autism.
D.C. Vs. NYC Scholarship: Saint Joseph’s Washington, D.C., and New York City alumni groups are competing in this challenge to raise scholarship funds for current students. Michael Fisher P’21 has pledged a one-to-one dollar match for each gift from a NYC chapter alum (up to $2,500).
We Care: Support Saint Joseph’s newly established Center for Addiction and Recovery Education (CARE), which works to confront the stigma of substance use disorder. Brendan Young ’97 will contribute $1,000 once CARE gets 50 donors.
The Burton Fund: History lovers can make a contribution to the David H. Burton History Fund, which helps sponsor a scholar who will teach and conduct research and public outreach as a postdoctoral fellow. Randall Miller, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history, will match each gift dollar for dollar (up to $50,000).
It’s been a tough year, but I think we Hawks are resilient. My hope is that on this day, the feast day of our patron saint, we’ll fly together and show our support.”
Due to the pandemic, Rath says engaging people where they are is a top priority this year.
“We have these hype videos to get people excited. We’re trying to utilize social media more to get people to tell their story of being a Hawk and how they live the St. Joseph’s spirit.”
Rath also encourages people to sign up as Giving Day Ambassadors and promote the challenges and funding goals on their social media accounts and with their personal networks. Ambassadors, as well as donors who make a recurring gift, will get access to a special set of SJU stickers for their text messages.
Rath says he looks forward to seeing what the University community can accomplish.
“Planning this day was truly a campus effort,” he says. “My hope is that students, alumni, faculty, staff, administration, parents, friends — everyone — will do their part, come together for a greater cause and make an impact.”
If you have any questions about the Day of Giving, please reach out to Michael Rath.