The Plymouth State University community hopes there are many friends and alumni of the school who are like Bonnie Breen-Wagner ‘72. That is especially true during the week of March 13–19, this year’s Giving Week.
Giving Week is a fundraising campaign in which Plymouth State looks to those who attended or friends who believe in what is happening at the University for contributions of any size.
Last year Giving Week raised approximately $240,000 from 600 donors. This time around University Advancement has set a goal of 750 donors, which they hope will net around $300,000.
Breen-Wagner not only has contributed to the campaign every year since it started in 2016, but she has also taken out her checkbook for pretty much every other occasion. She has even opened the eyes of her partner to the great things going on at the school and its inspiring students and alumni. He didn’t attend PSU, but he contributes during Giving Week.
“Plymouth State gave an awful lot to me. It still does,” says Breen-Wagner, who graduated with a degree in English, worked in Residential Life for two years, taught in the English department for more than 25 years, and has been an academic and mental health coach for the Men’s Basketball Team for the past couple of years. “It is a huge part of my life.”
A good portion of the money raised will go to the Plymouth Opportunity Scholarship Angel Fund and the Fund for Plymouth State, two student scholarship funds. However, those who donate can earmark their contributions to what they prefer.
“I see a lot of students and I don’t know how they do it—they work while they go to school, work all summer long, and still they are not sure if next semester is going to happen because of money,” Breen-Wagner adds. “If alums can help them get through, then why not? I think it’s the right thing to do.”
According to Director of Development John Scheinman, who had a child receive their bachelor’s and graduate degrees from Plymouth State, the school started Giving Week around Giving Tuesday, a day of giving that takes place on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday. Plymouth State later decided it would be better to center it around its Founder’s Day, officially on March 15 and celebrated this year on March 8.
“Each year we get more support than the year before,” Scheinman says. “The week is designed to inspire all alumni and friends to participate on any level to support deserving Plymouth State students.”
Donating during Giving Week has gotten even easier through partnership with Give Campus, Inc., a social fundraising platform designed for high education efforts. Alumni, friends, and students can go to the website to contribute, see how the campaign is going on the dashboard, share on social media, and even challenge others or groups to see who chips in the most for the week-long effort.
“Giving Week is designed to inspire to give. Social media folks embrace that—just look at the support for (injured Buffalo Bills player) Damar Hamlin, for example,” Scheinman says. “We are using the same principles to reach our alums wherever they are on social media.
“Plymouth State has a great sense of place. Ninety-nine percent of our alumni loved their experience and in turn want to support today’s PSU students, many of whom require financial aid assistance. We’re trying to help today’s students and asking alums to provide the same opportunities they had.”