Each year since 2015, Meredith has celebrated the College’s founding by hosting Giving Day. The Giving Day fundraising campaign is in its sixth year, and the College’s fundraising goal for this year’s Giving Day was $600,000. This goal was achieved and exceeded with donations totaling $714,798 — a number that is still growing and that is “the most [Meredith has] ever raised on Giving Day by almost $100,000” according to Erin Cleghorn, Director of the Meredith Fund. Cleghorn explains, “There’s always people who realize that they missed [Giving Day] and still want to be included...so we tally that in as part of our Giving Day effort even though it didn’t come in within those 24 hours.”
Cleghorn says that donors are always asked to “honor a strong woman” on Giving Day, but “this year we wanted folks to honor not just a strong woman but a strong woman who has made a change in their life or in their world.” So far, a total of 2,615 donors have honored 1,483 women for this year’s Giving Day. According to Cleghorn, having “almost 1,500 women honored is really special” as this year’s number of honorees is greater than the number of women honored in previous years.
To get more people involved on Giving Day, alumnae often motivate each other to donate by using social media and participating in giving challenges. Cleghorn states that giving challenges have the power to bring people together to say “I’m willing to do this if you’re willing to do that — that’s how much we care.” In fact, Cleghorn cites social media as “[the] biggest driver of [Giving Day]” because social media allowed “over 130 alumnae volunteers” to participate in this year’s Giving Day in their own way.
Although last year’s Giving Day total exceeded $600,000, Meredith “set the goal at $600,000 this year because we just weren’t sure…what to expect” due to COVID-19, Cleghorn claims. “We were really excited to not only meet but exceed [this year’s] goal,” she adds. Cleghorn further elaborates that COVID-19 “really impacted our ability to bring people to campus and to have more voices heard…but what I found is that it didn’t stop people from using social media and sharing their own stories.”
When asked about what Giving Day donations go toward, Cleghorn states that “in general, people can give wherever they want.” Donors are encouraged to donate to “wherever they feel passionate about on campus,” but special emphasis is placed on donating towards the greatest needs of the college, which is “our main unrestricted fund that takes care of a lot of budgetary things on campus, everything from academic department budgets to facilities and maintenance.” This year, donors were also asked to consider supporting the Student Emergency Fund as well as a new fund that was created “to support diversity and equity initiatives on campus.” Cleghorn says, “we wanted to create a fund…that will hopefully support training and other programming that is needed on campus” as part of the College’s Anti-Racism Initiative.
Cleghorn states that Giving Day “continues to be successful” and will continue to be a part of Founders’ Week in future years as long as it remains successful. She explains, “I hope that we can continue to use [Giving Day] to do good things for the students on this campus because they’re the ones that matter.”
By Molly Perry, Features Editor