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Faculty, staff giving campaign results in participation rate, total donors increase

faculty staff giving

Rebekah Cheney, WCU director of annual giving (left) and Chancellor Kelli R. Brown speak to faculty, staff and student donors at a campus event.

By Bill Studenc

Western Carolina University recently welcomed 58 new members into the ranks of faculty and staff donors who, in addition to their contributions to the university through their work, also contribute financially to the university.

They are among the 395 faculty and staff members who have made a philanthropic gift to the university since the beginning of the current fiscal year. A campaign to increase faculty and staff donations began July 1 and concluded Oct. 20.

The 58 newest donors represent 14.86% of total faculty and staff donors who made gifts during the past year, said Rebekah Cheney, WCU director of annual giving. The faculty and staff giving campaign also saw 35 reactivated donors – those who made their last gift in the 2022 fiscal year or before, Cheney said.

Eleven of the 13 campus divisions and units had increased participation over last year’s faculty and staff campaign participation rate. Nearly one-fourth of WCU’s fulltime faculty and staff are current donors, and overall participation was up 2.12% over 2022 with an increase of 40 donors, she said.

The Division of Athletics retained the “Faculty/Staff Giving Champion” trophy for having the highest rate of participation of donors, at 63.89%. Each WCU college and department previously identified a volunteer “Giving Champion” to encourage his or her colleagues to make a contribution.

The College of Business had the highest participation rate for college faculty and staff donors at 57.14% and the largest number of new donors at 14. The Division of Advancement, which is not eligible for the “Giving Champion” trophy, had the highest participation rate for staff donors at 100%.

“What an amazing turnout from our faculty and staff during this year’s campaign,” Cheney said. “To see the growth in number of donors and participation increases across so many units was inspiring. I am so grateful for the above-and-beyond commitment from each and every one of our faculty and staff donors.”

Faculty and staff who contribute a minimum of $5 annually are members of WCU’s Shetland Society. One of four giving societies established by the Division of Advancement in 2020 to celebrate the impact of philanthropy, the society is named for the Shetland ponies that then-Chancellor A.C. Reynolds purchased in 1912 to haul supplies by cart back and forth from Sylva to campus.

For more information about becoming a donor, visit or contact Cheney at 828-227-2868 or via email at

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