By Bill Studenc
Dozens of members of the extended Western Carolina University family are sweetening the pot for One Day for Western through a variety of challenge gifts designed to increase the impact of the donations of others during the upcoming all-in-day of giving to the university.
Challenge gifts issued so far include an anonymous donor pledging to match up to a total of $25,000 to help send WCU’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band to Ireland in 2024 and a $5,000 dollar-for-dollar match for donations to the university’s Speech and Hearing Clinic.
In addition, members of the Catamount Club Board of Directors are making challenge gifts to the Catamount Club toward scholarships for student-athletes, while Chancellor Kelli R. Brown and members of the Foundation Board of Directors are making challenge gifts to the Division of Student Affairs to provide emergency funding for students during times of personal crisis. If met, those challenges will unlock more than $5,500 in additional support for both the Catamount Club and for student emergency assistance efforts.
Set for Wednesday, March 29, the inaugural One Day for Western is a 24-hour fundraising initiative designed to benefit all areas of the university by inviting members of the WCU community to make financial gifts to the identified priorities that mean the most to them. Twelve distinct units of campus will be participating in One Day for Western, with numerous giving opportunities under each unit.
The largest challenge gift made to date is a $25,000 dollar-for-dollar match for donations toward meeting expenses for student members of the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band traveling to Ireland for the 2024 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, said Rebekah Cheney, WCU’s director of annual giving.
The anonymous donor is a longtime supporter of the marching band who wants to help ensure that the student musicians are able to participate in the experience of a lifetime, Cheney said. The challenge gift could bring up to $50,000 in support for band member travel expenses.
In another challenge, Dan Killian, head of the Valley of Franklin chapter of N.C. Rite Care, has offered to match up to $5,000 dollar-for-dollar for contributions to the WCU Speech and Hearing Clinic, located in the College of Health and Human Sciences. Part of the N.C. Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation, Killian’s organization has a long history of providing support for childhood language and learning centers through the nation, including at WCU.
A compilation of current challenges can be found online at oneday.wcu.edu/challenges, and additional challenge gifts are expected to come in as One Day for Western approaches.
The 12 units of campus taking part in the first-ever One Day for Western are: Athletics, the Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts, the Brinson Honors College, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education and Allied Professions, the College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Health and Human Sciences, Graduate School and Research, Hunter Library, the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band and Student Support initiatives.
For more information about One Day for Western, to issue a challenge gift or to make an early contribution, visit oneday.wcu.edu or call 828-227-7335.