The recent LYNX UP Challenge proved a massive success, raising scholarship gifts from University of Colorado Denver faculty and staff and tripling the number of donors on campus. The beneficiaries are CU Denver students who will ultimately reap expanded and life-changing scholarship opportunities.
The LYNX UP Challenge helped kick off the LYNX UP scholarship campaign, which has a goal of raising $15 million in three years. In the LYNX UP Challenge, faculty and staff were grouped into teams by school and college as well as offices and departments. The team with the most participation of faculty/staff over a two-month period (Feb. 28 to May 1) – whether through a one-time contribution, payroll deduction or other method – would be crowned the winner.
SPA places first; CLAS has most donors
So, the tabulations are complete and your Challenge winner is … the School of Public Affairs (SPA) with a whopping 62 percent of SPA employees participating! For their first-place finish, SPA will enjoy an exclusive party in the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center next fall.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) came in second and brought in the largest number of donors – 95.
Jane Hansberry, associate professor, clinical teaching track in SPA, was among the many SPA faculty and staff members who were excited to contribute to the LYNX UP campaign. “SPA is my MPA alma mater,” Hansberry said. “The classes, connections and SPA community paved the way for my career in metro Denver. Now to be teaching at SPA is truly coming full circle. I am grateful for this opportunity to be back at SPA, and working with and learning from the next generations of practitioners.”
The Office of Advancement, working with a steering committee, spearheaded the Challenge and the LYNX UP scholarship campaign, beginning with a festive kickoff event on Feb. 28. Julie DeWoody, senior director of development, said the goal of the LYNX UP Challenge was to generate enthusiasm for the scholarship campaign and demonstrate the commitment from the campus community to helping our students succeed.
“The momentum created by those closest to our students will also be impressive to the larger community – alumni, corporations, foundations, etc. – when we enter the more public phase of the campaign this fall,” DeWoody said. “Our specific focus was on increasing the number of employees giving to scholarships in any amount. By those measures, the effort was very successful, and it is a strong first step in a campaign that will continue for three years.”
Impressive numbers from the LYNX UP Challenge:
- During the two-month Challenge, 317 faculty and staff members, or 16 percent of all CU Denver employees, made gifts – more than triple the number from the entire previous year. (Baseline comparison: in fiscal year 2017, 100 faculty/staff members made donations, or 5 percent participation rate.)
- More than 90 employees enrolled in payroll deduction gifts during the Challenge. The ongoing revenue from all payroll deduction contributions will produce more than $35,000 each year for scholarships.
- Gifts made during the Challenge put CU Denver over the $1 million mark in total gifts from faculty and staff to the LYNX UP campaign.
‘Convenient and easy’
Charita Thompson, senior admissions counselor in Undergraduate Admissions & K-12 Outreach, is another proud contributor. She said that as an alumna, employee and fan of CU Denver, she wanted to give back to her alma mater and invest in the success of our students.
“It was convenient and easy to participate in the Challenge, and the fact that the focus is on scholarships made it that much more relevant and special to me, on a personal level,” Thompson said. “As a scholarship recipient myself, I directly understand how scholarship funds can truly change the lives of students at CU Denver. Whether the amount is large or small, a scholarship donation is telling a student, ‘We believe in you!’”
‘I could not be more thankful’
Lucy Major, a student in pre-nursing at CU Denver, said receiving a scholarship for the 2017-18 school year changed her life. “With the scholarship I was awarded, I was able to spend time focusing on my school work and being the best student I can be,” she said.
“I come from a really large family and I am the sixth in my family to go to college,” Major added, “so getting a scholarship eased my parents’ worry about helping me pay and I was able to quit my second job, which was a relief! I could not be more thankful to my donors for helping make my first year at college a success!”