2258 Donors "Spring for Swarthmore" on First-Ever Day of Giving

By Randy Frame
Spring For Swat

Because "Spring for Swarthmore" on May 1 was the first day of giving in the College's history, nobody, including the alumni leaders who proposed the idea and spearheaded the effort, knew quite what to expect.

The initial donor goal was set at 864, more than double the number of donors to have previously given to the College in one 24-hour period. But alumni, current students, parents, faculty and staff, and friends came through in a huge way. Dozens of volunteers - including Alumni and Parents Council members, Managers, and class volunteers - spread the word via emails and social media. By about 2 p.m., the 864 goal had been shattered. When all was said and done, on May 1, a total of 2,258 donors gave $403,878.

Many were no doubt motivated by a matchbox couple's offer to give an additional $1,000 per donor up to 864 donors and an additional $136,000 when the donor count reached 1,500. Thus, the actual grand total was $1,403,878 in support of student financial aid and other areas of College and student life.

Alumni Council members David Jenemann '93 and Mark Shapiro '88 first proposed the idea last fall. They wanted to celebrate the College's sesquicentennial birthday by giving back.

"I've never been much of a fundraiser, but the idea helping organize a birthday present to the College that has given me so much was something I could really relate to," Shapiro says. "That challenge monies were made available for student financial aid made it all the more compelling a story. The support of the Swarthmore community only underscores the tightness of our community and the desire of our alumni base to remain active, enthusiastic participants in the College."

"When Mark and I proposed this idea, we wanted it to be as much about building community and celebrating the College as it was about raising money," Jenemann says. "And it was amazing throughout the day to get emails, both from old friends and from alumni I've never met, excited to let me know they'd donated for the first time in decades. Last night, I got tagged in a Facebook feed of alumni trading messages about when we'd pass the 1864 mark, and with each of these experiences, I'd be struck by what an incredible community Swarthmore is and what a profound effect the College continues to have on alumni all over the world and at every stage of life."