Yesterday’s Tommie Give Day was a record-setting one during a year when support for St. Thomas students is more important than ever. The university exceeded its goal of 2,000 donors, with 2,654 donors — a more than 35% increase over last year’s record donor count of 1,945. St. Thomas raised $1,780,472 — more than doubling last year’s record total of $781,454.
Students in desperate need for assistance as the impact from COVID-19 adds stress on tuition payments, housing bills and other expenses will have some relief. The St. Thomas Alumni Department is directing the funds raised from this year’s Tommie Give Day to hardship scholarships.
With a 50% increase in Hardship Scholarship Fund requests, the university is being proactive about the need to assist students during this challenging time. “Hardship scholarships go directly to helping students pay their tuition, stay in school and finish on time. The need this year is greater than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Annual Giving Program Manager Lindsey Donovan said.
In the past, the Alumni Department has been able to market Tommie Give Day through various on-campus events such as Puppies on the Plaza. With the pandemic, online outreach has been the main means of communication with students, alumni and the community. “We made social media purple at St. Thomas yesterday and showed that if you can’t give a gift, you can still promote or share our cause to your network and your own Tommie network,” Donovan said. Despite the obstacles, Donovan was pleased that this was the greatest Tommie Give Day yet.
Each year the strength of the Tommie network is exemplified during Tommie Give Day as donations of all sizes are given out of the generous hearts of the St. Thomas community. “Tommie Give Day is a way to create some visibility around the importance of philanthropy at St. Thomas and the power of the Tommie network coming together,” Associate Director of Annual Giving Jenny O’Brien said.
With the new “Tommies Together” logo trademarking the special day, O’Brien expressed the importance of a “one university feel,” meaning this day brings the St. Thomas community together to work toward the common good.
The Board of Trustees played an enormous role in the giving efforts as well. O’Brien commented, “They have shown great leadership with their record-setting $1 million challenge fund. We are very grateful to our trustees.”
Donors can opt to set a monthly gift goal and be a part of the Sustaining Donor Program. Anyone who generously offers a monthly gift of at least $5 receives a St. Thomas pint glass that has the St. Thomas athletic shield on it.
Additionally, if a donor gave a gift greater than $60 on Tommie Give Day, they receive a St. Thomas branded mask and a mask will be donated in their name to Catholic Charities. Donovan expressed that they saw a need to partner with Catholic Charities for this event as the charity has an immediate need for masks at this time.
The department wants to let every alumnus, parent, friend and community member of the university know that their gift matters, no matter what size it is. Each contribution makes an impact and helps erase some of the need.
You can still make a gift to the University of St. Thomas by clicking here.