Giving Tuesday Sparks Creative Donations

Dean Denise A. Seachrist (center) is pictured with longtime donor, Sandie Kramer (left), and new donor, Barb Preston (right). Preston recently provided a much-needed match for Kent State University at Stark’s Giving Tuesday initiative, The Last Dollar Scholarship.

Kent State Stark students benefit from generous gifts. 

Barb Preston knows what it’s like to face a financial crisis. In fact, she was forced to drop out of the private liberal arts college she once attended. 

That’s why she didn’t hesitate to provide a much-needed match for Kent State University at Stark’s Giving Tuesday initiative, The Last Dollar Scholarship. 

“Donors can really make a difference at Kent State Stark,” said Preston, confident her gift will be life-changing for the students who need it most. “At the private school where I attended, my gift would have been meaningless, frankly. There, any dollar amount is a drop in the bucket of costly tuition. But here, it can make a real impact.”

For senior Cheyenne Clawson, whose daughter was born with a rare genetic disorder, The Last Dollar Scholarship has enabled her to continue her college education. And for recent graduate Steven Smith, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma while at Kent State Stark, the scholarship meant he could finish his bachelor’s degree while juggling his medical bills. 

It’s these stories that show financial gifts make all the difference to a student who is experiencing a life crisis, Preston said. 

It’s better to give

And she doesn’t shy away from the idea that fate played a role in her gift. So, how did Preston, who had no previous affiliation with Kent State Stark, find out about The Last Dollar Scholarship? 

“Well, it’s no question Giving Tuesday is a community effort at Kent State Stark,” explained Beth Fuciu, associate director of advancement. When Fuciu contacted a longtime donor to seek her support for the initiative, she was happy to make a $5,000 gift —with no strings, but a challenge, attached. 

Fuciu was challenged to find a second donor to match the gift. Fuciu contacted another loyal campus supporter, Sandie Kramer. Kramer, who passionately gives to her endowment supporting middle childhood education students, decided to ask her friend – Barb Preston – for some advice. 

When Preston, who had recently met Kramer at church while volunteering, heard that students in crisis were contemplating dropping out of college, she immediately decided to rise to the challenge. Preston agreed to be the second donor to provide a total of $10,000 in matching funds to The Last Dollar Scholarship drive.  

“This is a great Kent State Stark story,” said Fuciu. “Existing donors, new donors, a donor who pushes and challenges us, a donor who is so passionate about Kent State University that she tells her friends, and a new friend whose own challenges inspired her to help others, this is what giving is all about.”

POSTED: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 12:28pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 12:33pm
Melissa Griffy Seeton