Giving Tuesday Initiative Shines Light on Philanthropy
Kent State University launched its monthlong celebration of philanthropy, Giving Tuesday, on Nov. 1. As Kent State’s most generous annual tradition, Giving Tuesday encourages the Golden Flash community to reflect on their experiences and help make the world Forever Brighter by shining their light of support on Kent State students.
“Giving Tuesday at Kent State has grown to become one of the most impressive campaigns across the country in higher education,” said Vice President for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement and CEO of the KSU Foundation Valoree Vargo. “Each year, our community comes together to support our students and programs and to have their gift go further through matches and incentives. Seeing how many people join in each year - regardless of gift size - is really touching and exciting. This campaign makes a tangible difference for students across every college and campus within the university.”
This year, there is a new way for students to get involved. Students will be participating in Giving Tuesday through the Flashes Fighting Hunger initiative and Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. For the first time, an anonymous donor has generously pledged to match student volunteer hours with financial support for the Flashes Fighting Hunger Food Pantry. Each hour students spend volunteering for this cause will unlock a dollar of matching support for the program’s Giving Tuesday fund.
“We are excited for students to participate in Giving Tuesday and to shine their light on hunger and homelessness awareness,” said Danielle Hupp, senior associate director, communications and special giving initiatives. “We believe that generosity radiates, and this is a great example of that. Combining philanthropic support with volunteerism spreads the impact further for Flashes Fighting Hunger and those in the KSU community facing food insecurity. Flashes give back - it’s who we are and what we do.”
Students have embraced this opportunity to make a difference on campus and in the community through this generous Giving Tuesday match.
“We are grateful to the anonymous donor who gave us an innovative way to participate in Giving Tuesday this year,” said Lauren Klodt, president, Kent Student Ambassadors. “As students, many of us don’t have the means to contribute financially, but for us to give what we can - our time - and have those hours be matched in dollars for Flashes Fighting Hunger is a great opportunity for the whole community.”
In giving their time this month, students will amplify the number of resources available to those in need.
Giving Tuesday donors can also multiply their impact through special giving incentives and matching opportunities during the month of November. With a record 53 featured funds in the campaign, each with their own matching dollars, alumni and donors have the chance to shine their light of support on the area that matters most to them. Donors can find their favorite area to support on a new webpage at www.kent.edu/givingtuesday, where funds can be filtered by category, such as student scholarships, global education initiatives, research and innovation, emergency funds and more.
Global education opportunities are a special focus for this year’s campaign as Kent State celebrates 50 years of its flagship program in Florence, Italy. With more than 200 study-abroad programs in more than 60 countries, students have the chance to expand their academic, professional and personal horizons while being immersed in another culture.
A Kent State alumna who studied abroad while at the university, Heather Mikulski, ’08, Ph.D. ’21, was inspired to contribute the matching funds for the College of Public Health Study Abroad Fund this Giving Tuesday after learning about a unique study-abroad opportunity in Rwanda focused on peace and conflict surrounding the country’s 1994 genocide and civil war.
“I think it’s great to give someone the opportunity to experience something or see something new,” Mikulski said, from her experience studying in Germany. “I wanted to give someone an opportunity to go to Rwanda who might otherwise not be able to go.”
Such educational experiences are priceless and shape students’ perspectives and understanding of the world for years to come, making them highly sought after graduates in the global economy. Kent State has the largest American university program in Florence and the third largest in Italy. While 25 percent of Kent State students graduate with a study-abroad experience, the university aims to increase that number by increasing scholarships available to students for study-abroad opportunities.
Kent State’s Giving Tuesday celebration begins Nov. 1 and will run through 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Announcements about incentives and other matching gift information will occur every Tuesday in the month Information on all the Giving Tuesday initiatives can be found at www.kent.edu/givingtuesday.