Making a difference with gifts

For many students the University has become a new home. For faculty and staff, BGSU has become part of their family.

Yesterday, at the Family Campaign Volunteer Breakfast, faculty and staff members celebrated this extended family.

The Family Campaign, started in 1999, gives these faculty and staff members a passionate way to contribute to the University.

Robin Veitch, fund-raising assistant, said it is a positive way for faculty and staff to get involved and participation has been growing every year.

“It’s giving back to the family,” Veitch said.

According to Michelle Banks, director of annual giving, the campaign has raised over 7.2 million dollars toward various buildings and scholarships.

“It was created as a way for faculty, staff and retirees to give back to the University,” Banks said. “We’ve been able to do a lot of great things with scholarships.”

Linda Dobb, executive vice president, said the Family Campaign has been an incredible success story.

The Wolf Center for the Collaborative Arts, the Union, The Sebo Athletic Center and additions to the library are just some projects the Family Campaign has given back to the student community.

“People give in their jobs passionately,” Thomas Gorman, interim assistant director to Academic Enhancement, said, “but they also really care enough about students to contribute to their success.”

From donating time grading test papers to donating money for a new golf clubhouse, Dobb said supporting this campaign has meant supporting students in and out of the classroom.

“Passion for the institution has to encompass many things,” she said. “Passion takes all different forms and shapes.”

In fact, faculty, staff and retirees are encouraged to contribute to the specific programs that they care the most about. These specific donations given to the University make the campaign slogan, “Give to your Passion,” literal.

Many Family Campaign participants have gotten very creative with their contributions. Veitch said some departments produce money through dress-down Fridays and one director even hired a masseuse for those who contributed to a fund.

“Each department does their own little thing to generate money,” she said.

Faculty members can even create new funds to distribute their donations in. By creating these different outlets, faculty members can get their departments and colleagues involved, Veitch said.

“A lot of times, new scholarships are made that way,” she said.

In fact, the Family Campaign has created a total of 390 new scholarship funds, according to Marcia Latta, director of Alumni and Development and campaign director. Many of these funds, she said, will support more than one scholarship.

“[Many Students] would not have come to Bowling Green if it weren’t for scholarship assistance,” Latta said.

Sarah Connelly, senior, attended the breakfast to praise the scholarship opportunities provided by the Family Campaign.

“I was drawn initially to BGSU because of the talented, wonderful, kind school,” Connelly said.

Her final decision to come to Bowling Green, she said, was due to the amount of scholarship aid she received.

Not only do those students who receive scholarships see these contributions, but the contributors can take just as much pride.

“We see firsthand, daily, the difference contributions from Family Campaign can make,” Latta said.

By walking into the Union every day, faculty and staff can see their contributions in use.

“By contributing to this building, we are going to recruit more students,” she said.

Gale Swanka, senior assistant director of the Union, has similar feelings. She said the Union construction made the campaign high profile.

“It gives you something concrete that you can identify with,” she said.

According to Latta, more than 55 percent of University employees annually contribute to the campaign.

Deanna Woodhouse, Graduate Student Senate president, said the Family Campaign has made BGSU a premiere learning community.

“The faculty and staff give in to their passion and their passion is BGSU,” Woodhouse said.