By Bill Studenc
Western Carolina University is focusing its annual GivingTuesday initiative on raising awareness of and contributions to the Fund for WCU, which provides financial support for first-year access scholarships and for campus projects that increase alumni and community engagement with the university’s philanthropic activities.
WCU’s Division of Advancement has set a goal of 1,000 individual donors for GivingTuesday 2023. To help meet that goal, a large group of donors has issued a challenge and will contribute an extra $25 for everyone who gives to the GivingTuesday effort, up to 1,000 donors.
That challenge could result in up to an additional $25,000 to the Fund for WCU, if the GivingTuesday initiative achieves its goal and hits the 1,000-donor mark, said Rebekah Cheney, director of annual giving.
“For a second year, we are able to increase the Fund for WCU’s impact thanks to generous matching gift commitments by members of the WCU Foundation Board and members of our Division of Advancement leadership team,” Cheney said. “It’s wonderful to see so many alumni and friends come together to support the Fund for WCU through matching gifts, and I hope this will inspire even more generosity from Catamounts across the country.”
Previously known as the Loyalty Fund, the Fund for WCU generated approximately $40,000 in scholarship support to 82 students for the 2022-23 academic year and awarded a total of $43,500 through the 1889 Impact Grants Program to support a variety of campus projects this year. Those ventures ranged from nursing outreach clinics to efforts to help historically disadvantaged students succeed in the classroom and beyond.
GivingTuesday, which was launched in 2012, is a nationally observed day of philanthropy held on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and after the big shopping days of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. This year’s GivingTuesday falls on Nov. 28.
To maximize their philanthropic impact, Cheney suggests that donors check with their places of business to see if those companies or organizations provide corporate matching gifts for contributions made by their employees.
“You can give early or on Nov. 28,” she said. “Every gift – no matter the size – provides critical support to deserving Catamounts and projects across our campus community.”
Donations can be made at givingtuesday.wcu.edu or by contacting the WCU Division of Advancement at 828-227-7124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.