#Roar4Widener shows power of our community, raises nearly $175,000

Brian Lewis
A blue image containing a photograph of the Lions statue from in front of Founders Hall, and the text "Show us how you ROAR, Annual Day of Giving 2023"

Widener University’s second annual #Roar4Widener Day of Giving showed significant gains in donors, gifts, and dollars raised and pledged this year compared to last year, helping to put even more resources in the hands of our students and faculty. 

The event, which ran from noon to noon on April 12 and 13, gave alumni, parents, friends, staff, and students the opportunity to support one of 32 mini-campaigns that provided funding to all aspects of the university, or any other area of their choosing.  Athletic teams led the way, with more than $50,000 given to support our Division III student-athletes, but significant gifts were also given to experiential learning, academics, and community partnerships.

Preparations for the Day of Giving kicked off in earnest in November, with meetings held by the Development office to ask for participation from partners across all three of Widener’s campuses.  These partners were given the chance to identify programs and initiatives that would benefit from donor support, and had budgets ranging from just $500 all the way up to $20,000.  Campus partners were also able to record videos to their supporters, which more than a dozen did, and so did Widener President Stacey Robertson for the larger community.

The public launch of #Roar4Widener was on March 11, with email communications to the 60,000 Widener alumni living around the world.  President Robertson announced a challenge to faculty and staff at the same time, encouraging them to give and sweetening the pot with a $10,000 commitment if 135 employees gave between March 13 and April 13, a goal which was met before April 6th.

By the time the event officially began on April 12, Widener had already received leadership gifts and commitments from more than 200 alumni, parents, and friends, including significant challenges from Board of Trustees Chairman Paul Beideman ’79 ‘14H ($10,000), Trustee Tonie Leatherberry ($10,000), Trustee Richard Tan ($10,000), Trustee James “Jamie” Hargadon ’75 ($5,000), Cathy Pulos ’84 ($10,000), an anonymous donor to SURCA ($2,000), an anonymous donor to SAGA ($1,000), and the Alumni Council ($800).  Each of these challenges was met by the end of the event. Widener sent emails throughout the day, volunteers posted messages on social media, and even the Esports team got in on the action, holding a livestream on Twitch that included challenges like switching keyboard commands if donors made gifts of certain levels. 

Overall, 850 donors made 968 gifts, with pledges and commitments totaling $178,289.58.  These are all significant increases from April 2022’s first #Roar4Widener, which saw 659 donors, 808 gifts, and just over $159,000 in contributions.  Donors this year came from all areas of the community, including alumni (295), faculty and staff (154), friends and family, and students. 

The incredible success of the Day of Giving is a testament to the university community’s commitment to our students and our mission.  As Terry Travis, Vice President of University Advancement, put it, “The Day of Giving is over, but our commitment to student success never ends. Thank you for helping to #BuildThePride!”

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