EWU Foundation hopes to raise over $100,000 by fundraising on Giving Joy Day

By John Corley, For the Easterner

EWU students may be noticing a few banners hanging above entrances to various buildings on campus that promote Giving Joy Day. Along with the intent of spreading goodwill, the day is being used by the EWU Foundation to encourage people to make scholarship donations.

Giving Joy Day, as EWU markets it, is the university’s participation in what is globally known as Giving Tuesday, a day that is meant to encourage people to support causes they care about.  

According to EWU, Giving Joy Day, which takes place on Nov. 29, is meant to encourage students to participate in various acts of kindness, from complimenting a stranger to paying forward a coffee. EWU also wants that joy spreading financially in support of scholarships for current and future students.

Lisa Poplawski, EWU director of alumni advancement, said that on Giving Joy Day the EWU Foundation has several goals they intend to accomplish.

“Our focus is over $100,000 of fundraising for our students that day, from donors and individuals and to alumni, to be raised online,” said Poplawski. “But our goal is also awareness about what it means to bring joy to others. We want to engage our students so that they are aware of philanthropy and the importance of being giving toward others.”

As part of the initiative to spread awareness about altruism and the scholarship drive, EWU is using #GivingJoyDay on social media as well as encouraging donations toward scholarships to be made on their website givingjoyday.com. Michael Westfall, EWU vice president of university advancement and executive director of the EWU Foundation, said that raising money for scholarships is part of their effort to help students succeed.

“The number one barrier in most cases to a student attending a university is financial,” said Westfall. “We’re committed to student success and that means fundraising and so the more we can use vehicles like this [Giving Joy Day] to share that message the better it’s going to be for our students.”

To put the foundation’s goal in perspective, EWU received $1.89 million in gifts specifically toward scholarship support in 2015. The goal of raising $100,000 in one day alone would be approximately five percent of what was gifted all of last year.

Lisa Poplawski said that EWU depends on donations to support student success.

“Eastern relies on money from our alumni and our community to help fund tuition, education, classroom projects and research,” said Poplawski. “We’re raising money all the time to help with that.”

The EWU Foundation endowment’s current standing as of October is nearly $19 million, up from nearly $11 million in 2010. The endowment is essentially a fund that the EWU Foundation invests financial gifts into in order to sustain university and student support. Every dollar gifted for scholarships is invested into this fund with an annual payout of four percent to directly fund student scholarships.

Poplawski said she hopes that students who are impacted from scholarship donations are encouraged to give back to EWU after they graduate.

“When [EWU graduates] become an alum they hopefully will be inspired by this and excited,” said Poplawski. “People give to things that are exciting [to them] and see vision in and want to participate in.”