Employee giving at CU Denver reached new heights in 2020, despite–or perhaps because of–the global pandemic. Faculty and staff contributed a collective $182,000 out of their own pockets last year to CU Denver, making gifts in support of scholarships, the Loving Lynx Emergency Fund, and other initiatives that have a lasting impact on students and the university. While the pandemic presented plenty of hurdles, including a quick pivot to remote learning, working, and living, colleagues across campus leapt into action to help our students and one another. It’s yet another testament to the strength of our university community.
“2020 was a challenging year in many ways, so I truly appreciate that you chose to go the extra mile to support the university,” Chancellor Michelle Marks said in a message of gratitude to those who contributed. “You embody the spirit of our Lynx community and our commitment to student success.”
What started in 2018 as LYNX UP, a grassroots effort led by faculty, staff, and students to raise funds for scholarships, has since become CU Denver’s ongoing employee giving campaign. In past years, school and college teams participated in a friendly competition to see who could garner the most gifts among their colleagues. Viewing 2020 as challenging enough, the LYNX UP Ambassadors leading the campaign chose to set the competition aside for a year and encourage giving solely on the merits of making a difference. In the end, faculty and staff broke all of their previous records for philanthropic support.
“That’s one of the things I love about this campus—we look out for each other, and we do that in lots of ways,” said Chief of Staff Regina Kilkenny. “It’s especially moving when we do that for our students who are really working to achieve their dreams.”
Student scholarships remain a top priority among faculty and staff donors, and the students who benefit from them value not only the financial support, but also the endorsement of their work and aspirations that scholarships represent.
“I realize now what privilege these scholarships have afforded me in having an education. But with that privilege comes a lot of responsibility,” says David Olguin, a scholarship recipient studying public service. In addition to keeping busy with his studies and interning with the Colorado Department of Higher Education, David advocates for and serves as a mentor to other students, particularly those from Latinx communities, demonstrating the ripple effect that scholarship support can create.
On behalf of the students who rely on this support to create better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities, thank you to everyone who has made a gift to CU Denver!
Guest Contributor: Jim Dunn, Office of Advancement