On Thursday, Nov. 21, The Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) is celebrating Thank a Donor Day. Vice President of Special Events for SPC Hana Church said, “One of our goals as the Student Philanthropy Council is to educate students on how philanthropy impacts them on campus.” The student group was developed in the Spring of 2018 and has spread the education of philanthropy at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse ever since.
According to the UWL Foundation, “The Student Philanthropy Council intends to create excitement, raise awareness, and celebrate the impact philanthropy has on UWL through engaging activities for students.” SPC members meet monthly to plan events that spread information about philanthropy. The most recent of these events is Thank a Donor Day.
Students are celebrating by signing thank you cards at tables that were set up at Hoeschler Tower and the Student Union. These cards included either personalized messages about how the donors have influenced their college careers or a general message such as “thank you for your support.”
Church said, “The donor’s support goes to student scholarships, building supports, internships, study abroad opportunities and undergraduate research.” 130 of the donors that contribute are UWL staff and faculty.
With that being said, the goal of Thank a Donor Day 2019 is to have 130 thank you cards signed for each faculty member. At last year’s Thank a Donor Day, Church hand-delivered a portion of the thank you cards to faculty on campus. “It is really important to make that personal connection,” said Church.
Although some of the funds support students’ tuition, Koehler Gerlach, a member of SPC, said, “A lot of students have no idea that this campus would not be possible without donors.”
The UW-La Crosse Foundation has $1.2 million of UWL’s funds reserved just for students. The Foundation has contributed to the donor presence on campus since 1967. The Foundation has also played a part in the development of SPC in Spring 2018.
According to their website, “Private support is integral to preparing students for the world. The Foundation is the largest private funding resource for the University, and our donors’ gifts directly benefit UWL. This support allows UWL to impact greatness on campus when an opportunity arises and keep education affordable.”
Another member of SPC, Megan Runkel said, “It is important to let students know how much of an impact philanthropy is because we want donors to donate back to the campus in the future.”
“Annual giving is an indicator of the University’s strength and quality, as well as a benchmark for corporations, foundations and organizations as they consider whether to give to UWL. By making an annual gift of any size to the UWL Fund, you can show your support and have an impact on the University’s future. The great power of donor participation is the strength in numbers. Together, we can achieve so much more than any one of us alone,” according to the Foundation.
Size doesn’t matter and any amount of money is welcomed. Runkel said, “One of our big things is that even a $5 gift can make a difference for students. If donors continue to give gifts, they could really change a student’s time here at UWL.”
After Thank a Donor Day, the SPC will continue to spread information about the presence of philanthropy every month at tables at Hoeschler Tower or at the Student Union. SPC will further raise awareness by hosting Philanthropy Week in April 2020. Every day students can learn a new fact about giving back on our campus at this event.
If students would like to express their gratitude to donors any time after the Thank a Donor Day tables close on Thursday, they can contact Hana Church at [email protected].