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The Scarlet & Black

Scarlet and Give Back day raises $1 million

Student Alumni Council tabling outside the Dining Hall to raise funds for Scarlet and Give Back Day. Photo by Scott Lew.
Student Alumni Council tabling outside the Dining Hall to raise funds for Scarlet and Give Back Day. Photo by Scott Lew.

This past week the Office of Development and Department of Alumni Relations (DAR), hosted the fifth annual Scarlet and Give Back Day in collaboration with other groups on campus. Unlike in past years, when the event lasted for 24 hours, DAR extended the 2019 challenge to 36 hours, starting Wednesday at 5 a.m. and concluding on Thursday at 5 p.m. The goal for this year was greatly assisted by one anonymous donor, who pledged to match every $1 donated with $2 for up to $500,00. The College managed to raise $846,238 with the total of 1,904 gifts donated.

According to Mae Parker, the Director of Annual Giving, “That donor had already specified giving and where those dollars were going and that’s to the new humanities and social studies center (HSSC),” but anyone “can designate their gift wherever they want and then still qualify for the matching money to be counted, and we want to collect every dollar.”

In addition to the big donation pledge by that anonymous donor, specific alumni class years also created projects that were displayed on the Scarlet and Give Back Day website. Parker said, “The four alumni classes that have funds on the page are actually celebrating a reunion this May and specifically had funds they are working to endow so the funds will continue to be there forever. For example, the class of 2005 is doing a scholarship in memory of beloved classmate Daniel Samen Follmer ‘05, and they are trying to reach a $15,000 threshold so it will endow the scholarship and be given out every year in his memory. In this case, this scholarship would go to a Chicago student who is high need and wants to come to Grinnell.”

Many scholarships, programs and projects have all been generously supported by funds from Scarlet & Give Back Day throughout the past years, and Parker wanted to make sure that all Grinnellian know that. “The funding that you could apply for an internship, course-embedded travel, those things are all provided because someone else made a gift,” Parker said.

Another big recipient of the donations received on Scarlet and Give Back day is the Office of Financial Aid, which is passed directly on to students in the form of institutional grant assistance to support their education at Grinnell. According to Joe Bagnoli, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, “Among our peers nationally that are need-blind in admission and meet 100% of every student’s financial need, Grinnell awards financial aid to the highest percentage of enrolled students and we spend more of our operating budget on financial aid than any other need-blind college or university. Gifts received through Scarlet and Give Back Day are an essential component of the financial aid program and help us meet the demand for financial aid.”

One of the planned challenges for the student body is the Chipotle challenge, which will give a Chipotle lunch to the class year with the most donations. The class of 2019 won this challenge. A new challenge this year that was specific to Residence halls was the Dari Barn challenge, which will be rewarding the residence hall which had the most participation in a Human Laurel Leaf photo.

According to Mae Parker, “We want people to be connected on this day and feel good about knowing your gift matters, whether you gave $5 or $500 or $500,000 … your gift really matters at Grinnell and it’s causing impact immediately for our students.”

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