Foundation will recognize private giving with inaugural 'Philanthropy Awareness Day'

A 15-minute event on the Quad next week at Fort Hays State University will call attention to an under-appreciated but extremely important aspect of higher education.

Set for 10:15 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, the inaugural Philanthropy Awareness Day will educate students, faculty, staff and the Hays community about the necessity and importance of private donations to FHSU.

Presenters during the brief ceremony will include FHSU Foundation President and CEO Tim Chapman, a member of the Foundation Young Advisory Council and a prominent donor. They will speak about the importance of philanthropy and how everyone on campus benefits from generosity of others.

"We wanted to grab as many students as possible, so we're setting up shop in the Quad between classes," said James Gerstner, the Foundation's annual giving director. "We want to pull students into a brief presentation and start the process of passing the message of how important private donors are to the well-being of FHSU."

Gerstner said the theme of Philanthropy Awareness Day would revolve around the 1:1:1 ratio of funding in the FHSU operating budget. "Roughly a third of the budget is funded by tuition, roughly a third is funded by the state and the final third is private support," he explained. "We plan to tie this event into the overall theme for many of this year's annual campaigns."

The theme is "What if?"

"What if FHSU weren't here?" Gerstner asked. "How would that affect our students and the 800-some employees who work on campus? How would that affect the city of Hays, western Kansas and Virtual College students from all over the world? We want to spread the message that all students, even those who don't specifically receive a scholarship or financial assistance, have benefited from the generosity of FHSU alumni and friends of the university."

In addition to the "short and sweet" ceremony on the Quad, representatives from the Foundation will set up a table in the Memorial Union and continue to spread the message throughout the day.

Chapman said Philanthropy Awareness Day would send the message that 30 percent of a student's education and extracurricular experiences are dependant on others making private gifts in support of the university. "This is an effort to bring awareness to our students and campus that if we didn't have private support, their education would not be possible," he said. "We are trying this with the hope of implanting the message that everyone needs to be a part of the team in support of FHSU."

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