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Advancement News

Building a Culture of Philanthropy at Kent State

Posted Apr. 19, 2010

One of the outstanding hallmarks of the Kent State community is our collective willingness to step forward when called to assist others who are less fortunate. That’s exemplified by the students who have spent their spring breaks assisting hurricane victims in Biloxi, Miss.; by our graduates who are participating in the second annual Alumni Day of Service later this month; and by the faculty and staff who each year surpass the goal for raising United Way funds.

As a group, Kent State employees have proved their generosity time and time again. Just last year, with many of our students and their families in difficult financial situations, the university asked employees to consider a special gift to a mini-campaign that aids those students — the new Last Dollar Scholarship. Since the fall, faculty and staff members have contributed more than $80,000 to the fund, which assists students to continue their education when they are out of financial options.

Those gifts are part of the Centennial Campaign, which is another way faculty and staff have responded to the culture of philanthropy that’s taking root at Kent State. Our employees, as well as retired faculty and staff, have endowed numerous scholarships, created student research funds and contributed to new academic and athletic facilities. Many also are providing ongoing current-operating support through payroll deduction.

There are several numbers that stand out regarding faculty and staff contributions to the Centennial Campaign. To date, more than 2,100 faculty and staff members (including emeriti) have made a gift or pledge to the campaign — ranging from $5 Annual Fund gifts to a $1.2 million bequest. Collectively, those contributions add up to more than $8.7 million of the campaign’s $193.9 million raised to date.

The vast majority of those gifts are a result of the annual Faculty and Staff Campaign, which is currently underway. (I hope you’ve already seen the launch story in last week’s e-Inside.) Each person who contributes has his or her own reason. Some of you see needs within your department or school and want to ensure they’re met. Others understand the difficulties students face and want to enable them to continue working toward academic success. And still others have a passion — from the arts to libraries to sports to WKSU-FM — and make your gifts to areas outside your division.

That’s why the Faculty and Staff Campaign is so satisfying for those who participate: When you see a need, you can make a direct impact. Here at Kent State, we’ve witnessed a steady rise in participation over the past few years. However, we still fall short of our peer schools, which enjoy annual rates of 40 percent or higher. To continue our growth and work toward our goal of excellence across all our campuses, we need your participation this year.

I encourage you to visit the Faculty and Staff Campaign Web site, where you can learn the various convenient ways you can make a gift. Perhaps the easiest is the new online payroll deduction form, which provides a practically pain-free way to make manageable monthly contributions that add up to a significant impact.

Each day, you enhance our students’ Kent State experience through your on-the-job efforts. Consider deepening that connection with a gift to the Faculty and Staff Campaign today. Whether it’s a $10-per-paycheck contribution or a $1,000 leadership-level Annual Fund gift, your support makes a difference in the lives of our deserving students.

Sincerely,

Eugene Finn,
Vice President, Institutional Advancement