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Annual Giving's "March Gladness" lets campus community help students

You know about March Madness. But around the BYU campus, it’s also the month of March “Gladness.” March is the time when employee gifts can lift the spirits of hundreds of students seeking to improve their educational experience through scholarships, mentored learning grants and internships.

Employees can also continue their legacy of enhancing the fundamental buildings, programs and special projects found on the BYU campus.

Darla Seamons, Employee Giving director of the BYU Annual Giving Office, notes that BYU is a national leader in terms of the percentage of employees who support similar fundraising programs. What inspires Seamons most is the impact that employees have on the university and its students.

“Last year employee donations funded the equivalent of 129 full-tuition scholarships or 309 mentored learning grants. Every employee probably knows at least one student who has benefited from employee gifts,” she said.

This year a small army of volunteers from departments across campus will make sure that every employee receives an invitation to make a donation. Committee Chair Dallan Moody said, “Every employee should receive an envelope with a letter, a brochure and a reply card.” Moody said the committee has a goal that goes beyond numbers.

“It’s a very important goal, too,” he said. “We want every BYU employee to return the reply card. You can simply drop it in interoffice mail or give it to your department representative. Whether you give or not, please respond. We want to make sure everyone has had the chance to participate.”

The 2011 Employee Giving brochure features an example from the College of Life Sciences of how donations can help. Three years ago administrators noticed that some students were leaving school because they didn’t have enough money to continue. The discovery prompted Dean Rodney J. Brown to use money from his college annual fund to provide need-based scholarships. Since then, 75 students each year have received $1,000 scholarships.

“These scholarships have made a big difference,” Dean Brown said. “We want everyone to stay in school and graduate — and now they are, thanks in part to our generous team of employees.”

Christine Shearer, the Life Sciences student featured on the brochure cover, emphatically agrees. “My professors became more than just teachers," she said. "They are my role models, my mentors, my heroes and, most importantly, my friends. My BYU education prepared me for so much more than succeeding in a career; it prepared me to succeed in life.”

March Gladness has a way of making both students and employees happy. Please watch for your giving invitation and consider the opportunity to help others and this university.

Writer: Rick Stockton

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