More than $477,000 was raised by faculty and staff during the 2021-22 academic year toward the university's largest-ever fundraising campaign, Elon LEADS.
It says a lot about the culture and values of Elon when 63 percent of its employees made financial contributions, totaling $477,976, for the university’s Elon LEADS fundraising campaign.
Many of those who made that possible gathered at the Snow Family Grand Atrium inside of Schar Hall to recognize the collective philanthropy and generosity of the faculty and staff during the 2021-22 Faculty & Staff Giving Donor Celebration. The university saw 903 faculty-staff donors give back during the past year, and the total raised was nearly $70,000 higher than from last year.
Karl Sienerth, professor of chemistry and co-chair of the faculty-staff giving campaign, has given back to Elon each year since he arrived in 1998. The reason for this was a valuable piece of advice given to him by his father-in-law.
“He said, ‘Always give back to your school,’” Sienerth said. “And so I did. For many years, I think it was just a matter of doing it because it was the right thing to do. But over the years at Elon, it got to be more meaningful because it got more personal.”
Seeing students evolve while also gaining invaluable experiences and knowing that her contributions played a part in that is what’s most rewarding to Patti Gibbons, co-chair for the campaign and associate director of cultural and special programs.
Gibbons also acknowledged the important role of the 63 faculty/staff volunteer captains for their respective departments across campus.
“Without the help of all of you captains, we would not be able to spread the importance and the impact of this plan effectively,” Gibbons said in her second year as co-chair.
The historic Elon LEADS campaign is entering its final six months and so far has raised $246 million from a total of 31,701 donors. The four funding priorities of the campaign are: scholarships for graduates the world needs; increase access to engaged learning opportunities such as study abroad; research and service-learning; support for faculty and staff mentors; and improvements to Elon’s iconic campus.
Every gift to the university — including annual, endowment, capital, estate and other planned gifts — for any designation counts as a gift to the campaign and will support students and strengthen Elon for generations to come.
“I want to challenge you all to do something. Tell the story of why you give,” said John Barnhill, associate vice president for university advancement. “If we don’t share our stories … it doesn’t inspire other people.”
President Connie Ledoux Book spoke about the personal connection she’s experienced when it comes to higher education, whether it was her parents using the GI Bill to attend college as first-generation students or using the tuition remission program Elon provides for family members.
“I have become more aware of how I have benefited in so many ways from the generosity of others,” Book said. “There are so many ways that this university is operating that we collectively benefit from.
“I’m especially grateful that you raised your hand to say, ‘Let me see how I can support Elon.’ And to me, that raising of your hand is absolutely a vote of confidence that you have in the work we’re doing at the university,” Book added.
23 faculty-staff departments reached 100 percent participation, an increase from 18 last academic year. Below are those 23 departments:
- Administrative Services
- Business, Finance & Technology
- Carpentry Shop
- Center for Leadership
- Elon Core Curriculum
- Facilities Management
- Financial Aid
- Key Shop
- Moving & Setup
- New Student Programs
- North Carolina Campus Connect
- Planning, Design & Construction Management
- President’s Office
- Sponsored Programs
- Sport Management
- Student Involvement
- Student Life
- University Advancement