Alumni, parents, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to donate to various campus organizations this week as part of Poly Gives, a week coordinated by Cal Poly Annual Giving.
In its third year, Poly Gives aims to raise money that goes directly back to students, supplementing and funding what state funds cannot. This year the organization hopes to raise $250,000, according to Cal Poly Annual Giving.
In 2017, Poly Gives raised $55,406 in a total of 505 gifts, and in 2018 they raised $150,205 in 706 gifts. All of this money goes back to students in some way, helping to pay for trips for departments and student organizations, scholarships and general funds that supplement costs where they are needed. Poly Gives supports each of the colleges, Cal Poly Athletics, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a more than 25 clubs on campus.
March 4-7 is known as “Why Give Week,” a chance for the organization to educate and encourage students to learn more about how they benefit from donations, all while getting free goodies like candy, tumblers, t-shirts and more. The week concludes March 7 with a concert by Golf Dads at 11 a.m. in the University Union Plaza, sponsored by Associated Students, Inc. (ASI).
“We do year-round fundraising, but I think it’s just a real great way of building community,” Director of Giving Christ McBride said. “I think having that one day intense day of giving helps bring people together and get people excited.”
Each day includes a special event for students to participate to receive free items while also supporting student organizations on campus. On Monday, students wrote “thank you” cards to faculty and staff who have made an impact in their life. On Tuesday, along with the Center for Service in Action, they hosted a taco lunch to showcase how students can give back in the community. These events aim to not only raise money but to build community.
“Philanthropy doesn’t have to mean money,” McBride said.
A large part of Poly Gives, however, is focused on the money. The largest of fundraising efforts happen on Wednesday and Thursday with a 3:1 giving match, where the organization will match each $5 donation with $15 for any student organization chosen by the donor.
“We have monetary competitions — they’re ‘Giving Challenges’ is what they are called,” communications senior and head liaison for Cal Poly Annual Giving Alexis Ardito said.
These monetary challenges award up to an additional $800 to student organizations who post about Poly Gives on social media.
Why people give
Donors can specify projects and organizations they would like to support with their donations. Many alumni donations are a way of saying thank you for the time and support they received at Cal Poly, according to McBride. Parents donate as well. Students and faculty also donate, though usually in smaller amounts.
“[Cal Poly] provides students with the outlets to enhance their passions and interests in a palpable, experiential way,” Theater and Dance Department Chair Josh Machamer said. “There is no replacement for this type of learning. As a result, the educational environment is developed well beyond the borders of a classroom.”