Student philanthropy is a gift to you and me

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Why should I give more money to Metro State if I’m already paying a lot for tuition?

This question popped into my head when I first learned about the student philanthropy program, an effort of Metro State’s University Advancement Division to encourage students to fund scholarships for fellow students.

As a student on a tight budget, my main concern is decreasing my tuition bill. How could giving a monetary gift to the university accomplish that?

At least, that is what I thought. It never occurred to me that being a student donor would give me something in return: an outlet for helping friends and improving my college experience.

At the start of my freshman year, it was clear that if I wanted to succeed at Metro State, I had to engage in the campus community.

I made it a priority to attend events, fairs, club meetings and workshops. This led to a student job as an office assistant in University Advancement. In this position, I learned about Metro State’s mission to help students from diverse backgrounds achieve their educational goals.

University Advancement has two responsibilities: alumni relations and raising money for the foundation. Working there means achieving my goals, while helping others reach theirs. Every day I arrive at the office feeling a deep sense of community.

We help students everyday by attending to their specific needs. For example, the foundation raises money to support the DASH Emergency Grants for students facing unexpected life occurrences, like medical bills or car repairs. Last year, the foundation also awarded $340,212 in scholarships to students.

Our tuition and government funding only covers about two-thirds of what it takes to run the university. The rest comes from other sources, including money raised by the foundation.

I learned through my work that many alumni and community members give to the university through the Metro Fund, which supports the areas of greatest need at Metro State. In any given year, the greatest need could be emergency grants or scholarships, as mentioned above, or a specific academic program.

Gifts to the Metro Fund are a vote of confidence in the university—and in students like you and me.

This year, I have come to trust the people in charge of gathering gifts and putting them to work. So, I became a donor myself. I did not give a large sum. In fact, 30 percent of donations last year were small gifts like mine.

Why did I feel so great about donating? I knew my gift would give a fellow student a much-needed scholarship.

This past March, the foundation received over 2,000 scholarship applications—but only had the funds to award about 200.

The need is great. My small gift—and yours—will add up. We can increase scholarship support next year. I want to support my peers, just as I have been supported by the university community.

The words of alumna and Associate Vice President Deb Vos resonate with me: “Sometimes we are the helper and sometimes we are the ones needing help.”

As a Metro State family, it doesn’t really matter how much we give or in which way. It matters that we all support each other.

By helping others, we are also helping ourselves and building strong connections with other people. We are making Metro State—the place where we work, study and grow—a better place.

That is why I give. Not a large sum, but one with a big impact. How about you?