In spite of the daunting circumstances that kept us from physically gathering in celebration this year, Carthaginians stood together in support of our educational mission.
Thanks to the generosity of alumni, students, parents, employees, and other supporters, Carthage exceeded its overarching goal for Giving Day 2020. On May 5, members of our community pledged 1,054 gifts of support including donations, guidance, and goodwill to the students of today and tomorrow.
Originally scheduled for March 26, Giving Day was postponed when the College shifted to remote instruction to shield the community from the pandemic. Carthage chose the new date to join in the wider #GivingTuesdayNow, a global philanthropic campaign developed “as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.”
We’re still tallying all the gifts, but so far the College has raised more than $500,000 for student-centered programs and financial aid during the annual 24-hour fundraising sprint.
Mindful of the financial upheaval brought on by the virus and accompanying business closures, the College also welcomed alternative forms of Giving Day support. Carthaginians could count toward participation goals by registering as a mentor in The Aspire Network or by submitting a message of encouragement for students.
By reaching its opening goal of 640 participants — one for each graduating senior in the Class of 2020 — Carthage secured $200,000 that the Board of Trustees had committed as a “challenge” gift. When participation surged past the next goal — 847, representing the College’s founding in 1847 — it unlocked a $20,000 gift from trustee Gary Wilson and his wife, Cindy. Fellow trustee Patrick Anderson ’85 and his wife, Kim, parents of a Carthage freshman, then matched the final $15,000 in donations, a pledge that continues through midnight on May 6.
This year’s six fundraising targets included a pair of timely priorities:
- the COVID-19 Student Emergency Assistance Fund, which offers relief to Carthage students and families affected by the outbreak.
- the Smeds Nursing Initiative, which provides scholarships, equipment, and transportation for nursing majors.
Edward and Alice Smeds, both 1957 Carthage graduates, recently established the nursing fund with $20,000 to help future front-line caregivers. When other donors followed their lead, the couple issued a challenge to the entire community on Giving Day, matching all gifts 5:1 up to $50,000.
The other four challenges encouraged donations toward the Wiggan-Kenniebrew funds for students of color, the 150 Years of Carthage Women initiative, the Center for Faith and Spirituality, and the Class of 2020 Endowed Scholarship. With an online presentation detailing students’ ongoing service work at N’kume Primary School in South Africa, Nathan Clark ’21 alerted the community to yet another worthy giving opportunity. Additionally, alumnus Bill Mischo ’71 and his wife Phyllis gave $25,000 to establish an endowment for the Computer Science Program.
This year, safety precautions nixed the face-to-face social events usually held on campus and in alumni chapters across the country on Giving Day, so the celebration went virtual. Carthaginians showed their loyalty on social media using the traditional #redandready hashtag, Campus Pastor Kara Baylor led a live prayer service on Instagram, and several sororities and athletic teams gathered via Zoom.
In a tumultuous year, we thank you for embodying the Carthage mission statement: