By: Amanda Carroll, Staff Writer
Towson President Kim Schatzel recently introduced a Presidential Challenge as an incentive to promote participation in developing a culture of philanthropy within the university community.
For every 50 faculty or staff members who donate to Towson’s annual fund, Schatzel herself will donate $1,000, and up to $10,000 in total. The challenge has become one of her eight presidential priorities, according to the website.
Regional, public campuses like Towson do not have a history of strong philanthropic cultures “largely because most of our funding came from the state,” Schatzel said.
Now, she says, changes in Towson’s funding have shifted so that 80 percent of the university’s funding comes from tuition and private support, not the state.
With only 20 percent of funding coming from the state, Towson operates like a state school one out of every five business days.
Director of the Annual Campaign Brittany Shaff notes that Schatzel is the “first TU President ever to give such a challenge,” and that this really showcases the president’s commitment to philanthropy on campus.
Schatzel said that the monetary amount of a gift is secondary in importance to the act of giving itself.
“Whether $5, $50 or $500, just give something and participate in the campaign,” Schatzel said.
She said that each donation collectively adds up and builds momentum toward a greater investment in Towson students and Towson’s future.
Schatzel also said that she cannot imagine how faculty and staff would “not be able to find something [to donate to], especially since we work here and are part of the community.”
There are funds designated for every college, every academic department, scholarships, study abroad and other funds that affect all aspects of the student experience. Both Schatzel and Shaff emphasized that all donors should focus on giving to the fund that is most meaningful to them.
Schatzel also noted that high rates of donor participation can “make a compelling case for other benefactors to support us,” which further strengthens the culture of philanthropy.
Shaff said that last year’s faculty and staff participation rate in donating to the annual fund was 24 percent.
This is a 7 percent increase from the previous year’s participation rate.
This year’s goal is for 800 faculty and staff to give, which would put the rate around 35 percent participating.
Schatzel said that she is grateful for everyone who has and will be participating in the Presidential Challenge and future philanthropic initiatives.
Their gifts and support “will make Towson a better place,” Schatzel said.