Starting with first-year students taking part in orientation service projects, the value of lifelong giving is emphasized right from the start at the University of Findlay. That focus now extends to the award-winning and increasingly popular Graduating Class Philanthropy Honor Cord Program. Beginning with the Class of 2016, it was created to enhance the annual graduating class gift effort. The program includes financial, educational and service components that engage students in selfless service and set the stage for future philanthropic endeavors.
To earn a green cord for donning at commencement, each student must make a donation in the amount of their class year ($20.18 for this year) or greater. The money is used to create a Findlay Forward Scholarship; this year, a basketball 3-point shooting contest among members of the University’s six colleges determined an incoming freshman in the College of Pharmacy was to be the scholarship recipient.
Other program requirements are determined by each graduating class. For instance, attendance at educational events that focus on philanthropic community impact, and volunteering for various organizations on and off campus have been required.
When the program was launched, the Independent College Advancement Association conferred upon UF its Program of Excellence Award, which celebrates “people or teams that have developed innovative programs, tools and systems,” and recognizes best practices in the higher education advancement field.
On Nov. 14, Taylor Brubaker ’18 received the Outstanding Young Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Northwest Ohio Chapter. She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy while leading the Graduating Class Philanthropy Honor Cord Program committee.
The program’s growing success is evidenced by this year’s statistics. According to Kelly Anderson, director of annual giving, 202 financial gifts were received as of spring 2018 commencement, up from 147 in 2017 and 106 in 2016. Overall senior contributions for undergraduates and graduate students totaled just over $4,200. Those who proudly wore philanthropy cords at the May commencement ceremony totaled 186.
Other University of Findlay giving efforts geared toward student participation, such as Oilers Serving Abroad, Dance Marathon and Habitat for Humanity campus chapter provide continuous ways for students to help others throughout their academic career.