In the face of unprecedented uncertainty, what is most remarkable is the extraordinary resilience of philanthropy. While the past year has been unforgettable for so many difficult reasons, the heartfelt response from our community to the urgent needs of our students, families, faculty and staff reminds us that the spirit of community, emboldened by a commitment to caring for each other, remains fundamental to Furman.
During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, 618 donor households supported Furman with $184,748 in gifts and commitments to the For Furman Fund, the emergency support fund created to help members of our community overcome the obstacles presented by COVID-19. The fund also supports student scholarships, internships, research and study away opportunities; faculty development; academic departments; student life and career development programs; our institutes; and every aspect of the university. The success of the For Furman Fund is an especially powerful reminder of the far-reaching impact of giving to Furman as the university prepares to launch a campaign in February of 2022.
The numbers tell an important story, but the personal stories told by each gift to Furman are what matter: The alumnus who doubled his gift because he wanted to help students who need more scholarship support. The families who made gifts of their room and board refunds. The alumna who increased her monthly gift because she wants other students to experience the positive impact of a Furman education in the same way she did. The student who asked how she could support the dining hall staff and housekeepers whom she had come to know and appreciate. The parents who offered to repurpose their family endowment fund to address more critical current needs.
These moments of grace – elegant acts of virtue and regeneration – are the true story of this past year.
This year’s Dins Day, a 24-hour celebration of charitable giving and university pride, unfolded joyously, if only screen to screen this year. But students, alumni, family and friends were not about to miss out. Instead of cookouts and fountain hops, a tradition on the last day of classes for Furman students, the Furman community across the globe marked Dins Day with online trivia, a livestreaming workout by Furman’s strength and conditioning coach, live concerts, and a cooking demonstration by First Gentleman Charles Davis, who showed us how to make his oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Dins Day 2020 inspired 2,227 gifts totaling $1,454,692, which increased the total for all six years’ events to more than $8.8 million.