On March 4 at noon, Fordham’s third annual Giving Day will commence.
The all-day event aims to raise money for Fordham scholarships and financial aid through donations from alumni, students, faculty, and friends of Fordham. Unlike years past, the 2019 event features a new challenge: to garner the support of 1,841 donors in 1,841 minutes—in honor of Fordham’s founding year. All donations will support Faith & Hope | The Campaign for Financial Aid or the donor’s fund of choice. Rams have until March 5 at 6:41 p.m. EST to make a gift.
But the purpose of Giving Day extends beyond financial donations, says a Gabelli School student.
“Giving Day is more than fundraising for Fordham,” said Chirayu Shah, GABELLI ’21, the Giving Day chair of the Student Philanthropy Committee at Rose Hill. “It’s about making time to reconnect with Fordham.”
This year, Fordham will host evening Giving Day receptions on March 4 for alumni, students, faculty, friends, and future Rams at the Rose Hill, Westchester, and Lincoln Center campuses. From 12 to 1:30 p.m., the Rose Hill reception will launch a kick-off toast, courtesy of the Fordham athletics department. From 4 to 7 p.m., the Westchester reception will feature face-painting, caricatures, and a visit from Ramses. And from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the Lincoln Center reception will provide refreshments and giveaways.
For the first time, there will also be a Giving Day challenge for Fordham’s 36 regional chapters. The regional alumni chapter that exceeds its participation goal by the highest percentage will win a free happy hour.
The Giving Day festivities also extend to social media. If you download and print out a Ramses cut-out, snap a photo of him in action, and share it on social media with #FordhamGivingDay and a Fordham tag, then $1,000 could be donated to Fordham in your honor, courtesy of Cathy O’Brien Skinner, FCRH ’89.
Other 2019 Giving Day challenges include:
- Big Giving Day Challenge: If 1,841 people donate during Giving Day, Trustee Darlene Luccio Jordan, FCRH ’89, and her husband, Gerald R. Jordan, will donate $50,000 toward scholarships and financial aid.
- Future Rams Challenge, 3–6 p.m. EST: Have a future Ram in your family? Use #FordhamGivingDay and post a photo of your child (nieces, nephews, or grandkids are fine, too!) dressed up in Fordham gear. Rob Howley, FCRH ’89, will donate $500 to Fordham in the poster’s honor.
- Cap and Gown Challenge, 9 p.m.–12 a.m. EST: Dig up your favorite Fordham graduation photos and share them using #FordhamGivingDay for a chance to have $500 donated in your honor, courtesy of Rob Howley, FCRH ’89.
- Love Is in the Air Challenge, 7–10 a.m. EST: Did you meet your significant other at Fordham? Post a photo of yourselves, using the hashtag #FordhamGivingDay. Thanks to Jessica Leto, GABELLI ’98,’06, FAC, and Michael Leto, GABELLI ’06, $500 could be donated to Fordham in your names.
- Pet Post Challenge, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. EST: Share a photo of your pet celebrating Fordham Giving Day while dressed in Fordham swag using #FordhamGivingDay. Ramses will pick one lucky photo at the end of Giving Day and $500 will be donated toward the Fordham cause of your choice, courtesy of Gerry Tenebruso, GABELLI ’13.
- Faculty and Staff Challenge, 1–4 p.m. EST: Which Fordham faculty or staff members changed your life? Give them a shout-out on social media and use #FordhamGivingDay for a chance to have $500 donated to Fordham in honor of you and your mentors, courtesy of Eileen Hornor, GSAS ’92.
Brendan O’Grady, GABELLI ’13, helped sponsor the Recent Graduate Challenge. (If 200 alumni from the classes of ’09 through ’18 make a gift, $2,000 will be donated to Fordham.) He said he owes much of his success to Fordham, particularly his mentors at the Gabelli School of Business.
“The leadership at Gabelli really took the time to get to know each and every student—what they were going to school for, what they wanted to achieve, and most importantly, pushed them not only to achieve that but to think a little bit beyond that,” said O’Grady, who is now a manager in digital strategy at Ernst & Young. “That’s something that I’m incredibly appreciative of.”
The past two Giving Days have surpassed Fordham’s original goal. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the past two fundraising events have collectively raised more than $1.4 million.
The philanthropists are also very diverse. Last year’s donors span four continents and almost every U.S. state. Two donors are members of the class of ’23; one alum is from the class of ’51. And more than 120 donors are from the classes of 2018 and 2019.
Hara Chung, GABELLI ’20, the Giving Day chair in the Student Philanthropy Committee at Lincoln Center, recalled meeting Judy Zoller, a donor at the 2018 Women’s Philanthropy Summit. Zoller and her husband had created a scholarship that paid homage to their son, a Graduate School of Education alumnus who died at age 39.
“After being able to listen to the donors and the reasons why they give, it impacted me emotionally,” Chung said. “I wanted to give back more, even though I’m [still]a student.”
“Fordham has given us all so many different opportunities, whether it’s the people we’ve met or the professors we’ve had or the internships that we’re able to have because we’re in the city. So to give back to Fordham would be to give back to the next generation.”