From Blues Brothers and superheroes, to several other themes in between, Indiana University Northwest has been coming together annually to celebrate a well-known campus tradition: Philanthropy Week.
The focus: educating faculty, staff, and students about the vital importance of giving back, and how gifts—of any size—can make a significant, life-transforming impact on the campus and in the life of an IU Northwest student.
The week-long celebration has certainly evolved over the years, making a greater impact in the lives of IU Northwest students, often through scholarships.
“During the first year, nearly $9,500 was raised. Since then, the amount raised is typically doubled,” said Deanna Hardwick, Director of Development. “But what is even more significant is the impact that these gifts make in the lives of our students. Because of our campus’s generosity, tough decisions—like dropping out of school because tuition can’t be covered—no longer need to be made. Scholarship support keep students persisting toward their degree.”
Philanthropy is Key to Success
Hardwick is consistently amazed by the level of support and philanthropic spirit of the entire campus.
“The collective campus works together to ensure students have access to the resources they need so that dreams of an IU degree are not cut short,” she said.
The commitment to support the campus is what is most important—not the size of the gift, Hardwick said. She emphasizes that every gift counts, no matter the amount. “Some of our donors donate $10 a month out of their paycheck—that’s $120 annually right there. And in most cases, they don’t even miss it,” she said.
Anna Villanueva, associate athletic director, gives back every year, thanks to payroll deduction. “I specifically give back to athletic scholarships,” she said. “Athletic scholarships help student-athletes continue their commitment to both sports and education. In the end, it helps to retain student-athletes.”
Villanueva hopes that her gift helps students cross the finish line at graduation. She believes it’s essential to show financial support for students.
Many other donors echo Villanueva’s sentiment.
For Danny Tsataros, it’s personal. The assistant professor of public affairs gives to IU Northwest as a way to say, “thank you” to all those who gifted him with a student scholarship when he was an undergraduate student.
“While a student at IU Northwest, I benefited from student scholarships,” Tsataros said. “Now it’s my time to pay it forward and help my students.”
Helping Students Stay the Course
In 2020, Philanthropy Week focused on increasing awareness of the Student Emergency Fund. Due to the global pandemic, many students experienced unexpected hardships. This fund allowed students to access crucial assistance to scholarship funds, helping them to stay the course and progress toward their degree.
“It really is quite remarkable how small acts of generosity can help propel our students. For many students it’s less than a few hundred dollars,” Hardwick said. “The gifts raised during Philanthropy Week can literally make the difference between a student remaining in school or being forced to drop out. It changes lives, it alters futures, and the collective gratitude cannot be expressed enough.”
What makes giving back to IU Northwest truly special is the chance to support your neighbors and peers. Faculty, staff, and students who give gifts see their generosity play out every day.
“We are keeping our focus on the people we see, know, teach and mentor,” Hardwick said. “These are people within our inner circle. Essentially, we are making an impact in our very own backyard.”
Both Hardwick and Villanueva encourage faculty and staff to donate whatever they can. IU Northwest employees can always enroll in the payroll deduction program, and gifts of any size make a difference.
“[Like] the old Nike saying—just do it!” Villanueva said. “You’re making an investment in not only students’ futures, but our campus’s future as well.”
Hardwick is incredibly grateful for all the support shown during Philanthropy Week. And there’s no doubt that the students who benefit from these funds are immensely grateful as well. A gift going toward an IU Northwest education is so deeply appreciated.
Giving at Every Level
Tuesday, October 05, 2021