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ISU holds annual Redbird Philanthropy Week, Birds Give Back

Written by on February 18, 2024

Image courtesy of Illinois State University

NORMAL, Ill. – Redbird Philanthropy Week, Feb. 19-23, serves as an opportunity for Illinois State students to learn the impact of philanthropy on their college experience. Senior Managing Director of Annual Giving and Philanthropy Engagement Jillian Nelson expanded on the week’s events and importance of donors.

“There are a lot of opportunities and things funded not by tuition dollars, but actually by gifts from donors,” she said. “There are just different experiences and equipment that we help to support through private giving that really enhance the Redbird experience.”

Nelson shared that while the money raised to support student programs and scholarships is raised all year, it is culminated in Birds Give Back. The day serves as a way to elevate the giving experience for everyone involved, no matter gift size.

“When we come together on one day to unite philanthropic powers and go after a big goal, it builds excitement. We can then see, as a group, how even a small gift might create this ripple effect where we are able to do transformational things all across campus,” Nelson explained.

She also commented on the record set by the 2023 campaign of 4,439 gifts. Nelson acknowledged that not every year can supersede the previous, so this year’s goal is 4,000.

“Over the last five years of Birds Give Back, we have raised about $4.9 million from challenges, pledges and outright gifts and commitments to a variety of different causes, so it’s definitely made a big impact on the different programs and lives here at Illinois State,” she shared.

Nelson invites students to participate in the week’s festivities by participating in their digital philanthropy quest, as well an in-person event at the Bone Student Center on Feb. 22. Students who attend and complete the events will be entered in a raffle to win one of two pairs of Bose headphones.