College Exceeds Reach Goal in Annual Gettysburgives Giving Challenge

Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College

Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College

By Jamie Welch, Editor-in-Chief

Instructions were scrawled across the back of the envelope: “Don’t open until February 27 [at] 9am,” a directive intended to ensure that the gift inside would count for the fourth annual 36-hour  Gettysburgives challenge that was held from 9:00 a.m. on Feb. 27 until 9:00 p.m. on Feb. 28.

3,417 alumni, parents and friends of the college mailed in gifts, made their gift over the phone and gave online during the challenge to help the college unlock $1.1 million in match funding. In total, the annual Gettysburgives challenge raised $1,813,307.  The challenge funds were pledged by a group of alumni and parents and were released when the the college reached two separate goals for new donations. The college’s initial goal of 2,760 donors was met in the early afternoon on Wednesday, unlocking $1 million in challenge funds and then a reach goal of 3,000 donors was met shortly before the end of the challenge Wednesday night, unlocking another $100,000.

“During the Challenge, your gifts to the College will make an even greater impact,” an advertisement from the college read.

This year, the college introduced a student and family challenge with the promise that the class with the most gifts at the end of the challenge will have their class flag flown on top of the Cupola from Mar. 1-9. The first-year class easily defeated the upperclass students with 412 donors supporting their class. The sophomores  were in second place with 290 donors, and the juniors and seniors were neck and neck with 197 and 215 donors, respectively.

Brandon Davis, Assistant Director of Annual Giving for Student Programs, applauded the support from current students and their parents during the challenge and stressed the importance of gifts and engagement from current students and their families.

“When students begin a tradition of giving while they are still attending Gettysburg, they are much more likely to be life-long donors to the college,” Davis said. “The fact that the first-year and the sophomore classes came in first and second in the student and family challenge means that a strong framework has been laid for gifts from those students for many years to come.”

Not all students appreciated another request for money from the college.

“Honestly my reaction is that colleges ask for money from alumni, students, and parents all the time,” said Mary Beth Bielicki ’18, “it would be more beneficial for students if people were educated on the needs of Gettysburg students and donated their money to those specific projects.”

The Class of 1968, now in their 50th reunion year, took first place in the reunion year challenge, and the softball team dominated the Bullets sports teams challenge and earned a $2,500 prize for their team. The college had a challenge of 100 new sustaining gifts (gifts that have no definite end date) but fell short of that goal, receiving only 74 new sustaining gifts.

“Every gift that comes in for the Gettysburgives challenge supports every student’s Gettysburg experience, and I will tell you these students are worth that investment,” Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs said in a video promoting the challenge. “They are going to be our leaders of the future, they inspire me every day and they have earned our support.”

Editor’s Note: While the author is an employee of the Student Outreach Program and was involved in Gettysburgives,  members of the editorial board reviewed this article prior to its publication to ensure appropriate journalistic tenor. (-B. Pontz)

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 10:51 p.m. with updated totals. (-B. Pontz)

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Author: Jamie Welch

Jamie Welch '18 serves as editor-in-chief of The Gettysburgian, a position he has held since May 2016. Jamie also served as the webmaster and as a staff writer for the features and news sections. He is a computer science major with a business minor. Follow him on Twitter @welchjamesk.

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