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Family to match class gift funds

Sam Stryker | Monday, April 12, 2010

Looking to encourage student participation in the donation process, the Class of 2010 Senior Legacy has joined forces with class of 2010 parents Thomas and Laura Woodward to form the new Senior Legacy Challenge.

For every 20 percent of the senior class that makes a donation to the fund, the Woodwards will make a donation of $10,000 to the Class of 2010 Hesburgh Libraries endowment.

One hundred percent participation will result in a $50,000 donation.

For Ian Secviar and Emily Everett, co-chairs of the Student Development Committee for Senior Legacy 2010, the greatest benefit of the Woodwards’ donation is that it encourages students to donate, regardless of amount.

“It’s really cool because we have always emphasized participation,” Secviar said. “This way, we can show even small gifts make a difference because of the matching money.”

Participation in legacy programs the last few years has been lagging, according to Everett.

“Up until the last few years participation has been good, but the last few years have gone down and we want to get them back up,” she said.

Secviar said the highest recent participation rate was the Class of 2005, with 56 percent.

Last year’s Class of 2009 was the lowest in recent years, with only 22 percent of graduating seniors donating.

“Especially with last year’s donations, we feel the dip has been attributable to the economy,” he said.

Secviar said the partnership with the Woodward family was one primary way the Committee hoped to boost involvement in the Senior Legacy 2010 fund.

“This is the first year we’ve ever had a challenge and we hope that it boosts participation and rewards participation like never before,” he said.

Timothy Ponisciak, advisor to the Student Development Committee for Senior Legacy 2010, said that the program conceived the idea first, and then looked for a partner in the Challenge.

“We worked with our Major Gifts Department to see if the Woodwards would be interested in something based on participation and raising more funds for the Class of 2010 Hesburgh Library Endowment,” he said.

Everett said the deadline for the Challenge was set to coincide with graduation.
“You can make a donation or pledge before May 15 that you will give some money before December 31, and that will still count to the Challenge,” she said.

Secviar and Ponisciak hope that participation in Senior Legacy 2010 will also be greater because of measures taken by the Committee to make donating to the fund more straightforward.

“Along with the challenge gift, we are trying to make giving easier as well,” Secviar said.

One way the committee simplified the process is by creating a new Senior Legacy Web site.

Although the main focus of Senior Legacy 2010 is the Hesburgh Library Endowment, graduating seniors do have the option to choose the recipient of their donation, Secviar said.

“We really think that the Hesburgh Library Endowment is a really worthy cause, but if students want to contribute to any area at Notre Dame it will still count to the Woodward Challenge and Senior Legacy,” he said.