On #GivingTuesday, donors can choose from 11 different funds to make it real for VCU students

A woman in yellow hat and scarf holds a gift box. Words "Giving Tuesday" are at right.
A global day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to build and catalyze a community around philanthropy.

Power VCU to victory at the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop competition. Help a political science student participate in an experiential civil rights course. Cover accommodations for a dentist on a mission trip to Jamaica, or join Massey Cancer Center doctors in their fight against cancer.

These are just some of the areas in which Virginia Commonwealth University is asking its alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff for help when it participates for the first time in Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27.

A global day of giving celebrated annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to build and catalyze a community around philanthropy. To help with the effort, VCU has launched a new crowdfunding website to focus attention on some of the greatest areas of need at the university.

Igniter features 11 crowdfunding campaigns from schools and units across the university, including VCU Athletics, the schools of Dentistry and Medicine and the Honors College. The campaigns provide an opportunity for VCU’s donors to support a specific area that interests them and watch in real time as the contributions add up to impact students and programs.

“As we enter the holiday season, Giving Tuesday is the perfect complement to Black Friday. VCU is participating for the first time, and with the generosity of our alumni and friends, Giving Tuesday can really make a difference at the university,” said Michael P. Andrews, VCU’s executive director of annual giving. “The array of unique campaigns featured on Igniter illustrates the creative and transformational work done by our students, health care providers and academic programs.”

Donors can make their Giving Tuesday gifts beginning immediately until 11:59 p.m. Nov. 27. Some of the campaigns have challenges and matches from donors that will be unlocked upon reaching certain goals. After Giving Tuesday, Igniter will feature a new round of campaigns.

VCU alumni, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to bolster the effort by sharing information through social media, using Igniter’s toolkit of messages and images, and by making gifts on Giving Tuesday.



Campaign: Deliver help where it’s needed most

Fundraising goal: $11,680

About the project: An annual fund, whether universitywide or in a school or unit, is the best place to give and make an immediate impact, as the funds are directly and immediately designated to those who need them most. Annual funds can provide scholarships, classroom supplies, research experiences and more. The universitywide annual fund provides assistance to vulnerable students via such initiatives as the First Generation Fund and the VCU Family Fund.

Why you should support it: “When you support first-generation college students, what you’re supporting is ending that cycle of poverty and allowing these students to better their lives.” — Hannah Johnson, history and elementary education student


Hyperloop at VCU - Giving Tuesday

Campaign: Power VCU through Hyperloop

Fundraising goal: $10,000

About the project: Last July, the Hyperloop at VCU student team was one of only 20 finalists in the world — and just nine in the United States — to advance to the 2018 International Hyperloop Pod Competition at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Now the team is working on its 2019 contest bid, and they need funds to purchase materials, parts and critical components to fabricate the pod and transport it — and them — to the final competition in California.

Why you should support it: “This is an amazing group of students. They are dedicated in representing VCU and are doing the absolute best they can in this competition.” — L. Franklin Bost, executive associate dean for innovation and outreach, VCU College of Engineering


What can you do with $20? | VCU Giving Tuesday

Campaign: I ♥ VCU Class Giving Challenge: Make your mark

Fundraising goal: $2,000

About the project: VCU Alumni calls on students on the cusp of graduation to make a gift representing their graduation year ($20.18 or $20.19) that could smooth the path for those coming after them. Students are encouraged to support the area that matters most to them.

Why you should support it: “My gift to the School of Business is the first step to participating as a VCU alumna. I want students to realize that their involvement does not stop after they graduate and that we have a responsibility to continue to open doors for future students as they were opened for us.” —  Destinee Moragne, School of Business student


Support VCU medical students | VCU Giving Tuesday

Campaign: Change the future — help a medical student escape debt

Fundraising goal: $10,000

About the project: The dream of a career in medicine often comes with a heavy burden of debt. In the 211-member VCU School of Medicine Class of 2018, only 49 students graduated debt-free. The rest carried an average debt of $202,297. The School of Medicine Annual Fund supports these students by contributing every penny donated toward creating scholarships that will lighten their load.

Why you should support it: “Without the financial support, I wouldn’t be able to pursue my dream or even attend medical school. Because someone has trusted me and helped me pursue my dream, I feel like I’m going to work really hard through medical school and become a person who can give back to the community in a similar way.” — Bharti Patel, School of Medicine student


The Civil Rights Movement course | VCU Giving Tuesday

Campaign: Send Humanities and Sciences students on an experiential civil rights trip

Fundraising goal: $10,000

About the project: In summer 2019, The Civil Rights Movement, an experiential learning course offered by the Department of Political Science in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, will provide a traditional curriculum and in-class seminars that introduce the historical background leading up to the peak years of the struggle for racial equality in America. It will culminate in a two-week trip to include visits to a dozen Southern cities that are part of the United States Civil Rights Trail. Donations will help cover travel costs for seven students.

Why you should support it: “Actually going to these sites drives more of a connection and it makes things more important.” — Myia Samuels, political science student


VCU School of Business alumni give back | VCU Giving Tuesday

Campaign: Business alumni support scholarships

Fundraising goal: $10,000

About the project: An endowed scholarship fund created in 1996 by the VCU Alumni Business Alumni Society pools gifts large and small to support bright and talented business students on their educational journey. Donations will increase the number of students who could be supported.

Why you should support it: “Our goal is to have all of our alumni participate. Your gift, whether big or small, can go a long way to help a student stay in school and achieve their dream of a VCU School of Business degree.” — Tom Casey, School of Business alumnus


Saving lives the Massey way | VCU Giving Tuesday

Campaign: Fight for a world without cancer

Fundraising goal: $20,000

About the project: Massey Cancer Center aims to bolster its unrestricted fund, which gives those in the know the ability to address the most urgent and promising needs, research and clinical trials as they arise — which in turn enables Massey to save lives.

Why you should support it: “When I was undergoing treatment, I reached a point when I didn’t think I could take any more. My doctor said to me, ‘George, this cancer isn’t taking any days off, and neither am I.’ That’s how I feel about fundraising for Massey: We can’t afford any days off. I don’t know who will raise that last dollar that finds a cure for cancer, but I don’t want to be the guy who stops too soon.” —George Emerson, Massey patient and donor


VCU Honors College students study abroad | VCU Giving Tuesday

Campaign: Send an Honors student to study abroad

Fundraising goal: $10,000

About the project: Community service and experiential learning have always been important to Honors College students. They provide transformational personal growth, a greater global awareness and leadership development opportunities. But many students are unable to take part in such activities. Donations support travel costs for students who are driven to make a difference in the world.

Why you should support it: “We were in Bolivia to help build a school. We had enough people laying brick and cobblestone, and if we wanted to help in the classroom, we could. I said, ‘I love working with kids — let me do it.’ To know that I had that impact is just an incredibly humbling experience.” — Anthony Jones, VCU Honors College student and sociology major


The Jamaica Project

Campaign: Keep the Jamaica Project alive

Fundraising goal: $10,000

About the project: Every year since 1986, students from the VCU School of Dentistry travel with the school’s residents, faculty and staff, as well as with alumni and community oral health providers, to Trelawny Parish in Jamaica. The team provides extractions, endodontic care, restorations, cleanings, sealants and oral health education at no cost to local residents. Though students raise money to travel to Jamaica, extra funds are needed to cover their on-island transportation and housing, dental materials and equipment.

Why you should support it: “Think about the students that you’re impacting — and not only the students but also the recipients in Jamaica, who love the care that we give.” — Tiffany Williams, D.D.S., assistant professor and Jamaica Project adviser and volunteer


Support Dental Hygiene students | VCU Giving Tuesday

Campaign: Send a dental hygiene student to a conference

Fundraising goal: $5,000

About the project: In 50 years of the Dental Hygiene Program in the VCU School of Dentistry, funding for students to travel to conferences has never been adequate. These experiences are so important for students not only to present and defend their research but also to network with colleagues and future employers, and to gain new perspectives in the profession.

Why you should support it: “I believe that research is a foundation upon which we make decisions in clinic. To share our findings as a group in an annual platform would have been a milestone moment in my dental hygiene career and an opportunity to represent our school in a positive way. Missing the annual meeting solely due to finances was heartbreaking.” — Jorel Belarmino, VCU School of Dentistry alumnus


Join the team that supports our team | VCU Giving Tuesday

Campaign: Join the team that supports our teams

Fundraising goal: $25,000

About the project: Guts, grit and hard work keep VCU student-athletes on top of their game in the classroom and on the field, but the Ram Athletic Fund provides support with scholarships, team travel, academic support and sports medicine programs, giving each student-athlete a well-rounded and high-quality experience.

Why you should support it: “VCU has been a wonderful place to play, grow and learn. There are a lot of student-athletes here who would not have had this experience if it weren’t for the Ram Athletic Fund.” — Ryann Shaughnessy, VCU lacrosse player and business marketing student