Students at the University of California, San Diego are focused on more than just classes this fall; they are focusing on giving back and helping their fellow students. During Welcome Week—the week leading up to the Sept. 22 start of classes—the UC San Diego Student Foundation gained 505 student donors through their “Give. Invest. Gain.” initiative, raising more than $12,000 for student scholarships and surpassing the initiative’s total number of donors in the 2010-11 academic year.
Launched in Fall 2010, the “Give. Invest. Gain.” initiative was created by members of the UC San Diego Student Foundation, in collaboration with UCSD Alumni, as part of their overarching goals of creating a culture of philanthropy on campus, increasing student participation and building a strong alumni community. With this in mind, incoming campus residents received “Give. Invest. Gain.” branded welcome bags with messages from UCSD Alumni, encouraging students to get involved. The new initiative asks students to give an annual gift of $25 in support of student scholarships. In its first year, the initiative increased donor participation by 431 percent among underclass (non-senior) students and raised $10,550.
“Giving back is part of being a good community member,” said Geoff Honda, 2010-11 president of the UC San Diego Student Foundation. “Our mission is to increase the philanthropic spirit in the UC San Diego community, instilling in students a tradition of giving back that they will continue throughout their lives.”
The UC San Diego Student Foundation is the first organization of its kind in the UC system and one of just a few in the nation. It was established in 1999 when alumni Marc (class of 1979) and Patricia (class of 1983) Brutten gave $100,000 to set up an endowment that students would oversee. The program provides students the opportunity to learn first-hand what it takes to run a foundation, the importance of philanthropy, and the realities of investing and fundraising.
Today, the Student Foundation manages a portfolio of $340,000 comprised of two endowments, the Student Foundation endowment and the Senior Class Gift. Since 2002, the Student Foundation has awarded more than $80,000 in scholarships to more than 60 UC San Diego students.
To thank student donors, the Student Foundation has also created Society 60, a donor appreciation group named after the founding year of the university, 1960. Society 60 offers exclusive benefits, such as special access to select campus events, discounts at the UC San Diego Bookstore and T-shirts. Society 60 members also receive regular communications about upcoming campus opportunities and involvement.
One of the students leading the donor stewardship efforts is Brittaney Khong, who received a scholarship from the Student Foundation as an incoming freshman. Khong joined the foundation in 2010, and will serve as the organization’s president for 2011-12.
“Getting a scholarship from my peers meant so much more,” said Khong. “I got involved with the Student Foundation because I believe the best way to show my gratitude is to give back to someone else.”
To learn more about the UC San Diego Student Foundation and its programs, visit http://gig.ucsd.edu or call (858) 246-0326.
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