December 1, 2015 by Amanda Bradford, NMSU News Center
With hours still to go in its first-ever 24-hour marathon GivingTuesday fundraising event, early estimates indicate New Mexico State University brought in more than $3.5 million in new scholarship funding Dec. 1. More than 900 donors contributed online or in-person gifts.
“This has already been a tremendous success, and we’re still counting gifts coming in all evening,” said NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. “I’m extremely proud, not only of the additional money to support deserving students throughout the NMSU system, but even more so of the level of participation we’ve seen today. NMSU truly is a caring community, and the waves of donors coming in to show their support are further evidence of that.”
Online and in-person giving totals had reached $426,553 on Tuesday afternoon when Carruthers surprised guests at the GivingTuesday headquarters at Corbett Center’s Aggie Lounge with the announcement of gifts from members of the NMSU Foundation Board of Directors totaling an additional $881,950. Preliminary estimates of all GivingTuesday gifts, plus matching funds from the bequest of an anonymous alumnus and additional funding from the alumni license plate program, indicate the university will add more than $3.5 million to its scholarship funds system-wide.
“Every single one of our Board of Regents and Foundation Board members and regents participated in this GivingTuesday event,” Carruthers said. “That 100 percent participation is something we as a university can be very proud of.”
Carruthers made gifts of his own, contributing to several scholarships and making good on his own matching challenge – Carruthers and his wife, Kathy, will add $5 for each NMSU employee who set up a new gift through payroll deduction, a total that continued to grow all afternoon.
Many other campus leaders jumped in as GivingTuesday drew closer to add their own matching challenges, pledging dollar amounts for each employee in their department or student in their program. Enthusiasm for the initiative came from across all of NMSU’s community college campuses, as well.
Andrea Tawney, NMSU interim vice president for university advancement, joined Carruthers in praising their community of donors for their commitment, and noted that every gift, large or small, has an impact on students. Tawney said the success of the campaign is due to the work of the university advancement team, which planned the event for several months.
“That’s what this is all about – our students,” Tawney said. “We had our community, our Foundation board, our regents, our alumni, our advancement team, our faculty and staff, and our students really step up today. We’ve been saying all along that one day can make a difference, but this really surpassed our expectations.”
A final total for the GivingTuesday event won’t be available for several days, Tawney said, because gifts are still coming in from alumni and friends of the university across the country and the globe.
Aaron Villalobos, who earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication in 2006, made a gift online from Atlanta, Georgia, where he works in sports marketing and design.
“My experience at NMSU would not have been possible without the assistance of scholarships,” Villalobos said in an email. “As a young alumnus, I’m excited to participate in NMSU’s GivingTuesday, knowing that my contribution will have the potential to afford a student the same education and opportunities that gave me the foundation for my career. It’s a good feeling knowing that I get to pay the Aggie experience forward on GivingTuesday.”
In addition to making gifts supporting existing scholarships, donors established more than 50 new scholarships on GivingTuesday.
“The dollar-for-dollar match we offered through our license plate funds – and one very generous Aggie legend whom we recently lost – made it possible for many of our faculty, staff and other donors to establish new endowed scholarships to honor their loved ones or celebrate a person who had an impact on them,” Tawney said. “They’re leaving a legacy that will create opportunities for more students to pursue their educational goals.”