Hawks Soar Past the Challenge: RWU Day of Giving Breaks Records

Participation more than doubled, raising the most funds ever on an annual Day of Giving

By Jill Rodrigues '05
President Miaoulis poses with RWU's mascot and employees.
President-Designate Ioannis Miaoulis helps drum up excitement for the Day of Giving with Swoop and volunteers.

BRISTOL, R.I. – With energy buzzing across campus and friendly competition building excitement on social media, more than twice the number of dedicated Hawks answered the call to support our students on this year’s Roger Williams University Day of Giving.

On April 25, our loyal community stepped up to the challenge and shattered expectations, helping RWU raise critical funds for student scholarship, our student athletes, and enhancing educational facilities. As donations poured in during the 24-hour period, participation more than doubled for our third annual Day of Giving – enabling us to meet or exceed every one of our fundraising goals.

We set ambitious goals for our community, and our supporters made sure we did not merely exceed them – they blew them out of the water!” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Lisa Raiola. “No words can express the gratitude we feel for the many hundreds of folks who took the time to volunteer, to advocate, to cheerlead, and to give in support of the vital impact and remarkable work of our students, faculty and staff.”

Thanks to 1,210 donors, RWU raised a total of $594,571. The generosity that swept in helped unlock several matching funds:

  • A $100,000 match challenge from the Donald C. McGraw Foundation
  • A $100,000 participation challenge from RWU Board of Trustees Vice Chair Marcia Morris
  • A $50,000 bonus challenge from University Treasurer and Trustee Jerry Lavine and Barbara Lavine
  • A $25,000 challenge for the SECCM Labs Campaign from Gene Kennedy ’90 and Lee Kennedy Corps
  • And two $10,000 challenges from families supporting the Blue & Gold Fund

These funds will deploy more Civic Scholars to apply their knowledge and skills toward solving problems that matter to the communities we serve. They will support our student athletes on the field and in the classroom. They will remove financial barriers for deserving University College students. They will help RWU build SECCM Labs, a state-of-the-art experiential learning hub for the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management. And they will provide resources for students with urgent and unforeseen needs.

Volunteers raise support.
RWU Sailing Coach Amanda Callahan, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Advancement Christine Parker and Director of Alumni Relations Meghan Hansen volunteered to collect donations on the Day of Giving.

Through the Campaign for Civic Scholars, RWU enabled half of last year’s graduating class to deepen their academic learning and have transformational personal experiences, working with community members on real issues. Our goal is to provide every student the opportunity to participate in community-engaged work, empowering them to learn and thrive while creating meaningful change in our backyard and around the world. With more than $450,000 contributed during this year’s Day of Giving, the Campaign for Civic Scholars has raised $2.65 million in two years to fund the great work of our students and faculty.

“Every dollar contributed to the campaign has helped us fund the vital resources that we need to deploy more Roger Williams students into the communities near and far for community-engaged learning opportunities that address real-world problems,” said Marcia Morris, RWU Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Chair of the Campaign for Civic Scholars.

Nearly half of this year’s donors pledged support to our student athletes, inspired by the passionate calls to action that gained momentum on social media throughout the day. Athletic teams competed to reach the highest donor participation, motivating 582 supporters to give $41,958 to the Blue & Gold Fund, nearly tripling our $10,000 goal. Neck in neck in amicable competition with the women’s lacrosse team throughout the day, the women’s basketball team netted the highest participation in the Blue & Gold Fund participation challenge, which will support all athletes.

“I plan to donate because I’m a mom and a former basketball player,” said Donna Bovee, parent of Kaitlyn Bovee ’14, in a video posted to Twitter. “I made lifelong friends with so many parents of players. I got to know and to love these women basketball players that I was privileged to see play. So come on everybody, we’re going to do it! All it takes is each one of us contributing $10.”

The passionate energy from this transformational generosity and pride for the vital work of our students and faculty will now be put to work during an exciting year ahead.