Everyone likes the idea of being a philanthropist – to advance a cause that they’re passionate about or to help others with the challenges in their lives. It’s noble. It gives purpose. And it makes the world a better place.
But what is often forgotten about philanthropy is that it doesn’t require vast financial resources. A philanthropist is someone who takes voluntary action for the public good — whether that’s giving their own money, helping their chosen cause raise money, or advocating and volunteering on its behalf.
Exceedingly generous monetary gifts are, of course, extraordinarily important to organizations like Boise State that rely on philanthropy. These gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations and others form the framework upon which the university builds a broad, versatile and sustainable philanthropic culture among its supporters. By working closely with the generous donors interested in making these kinds of gifts, Boise State develops its vision for what is possible to achieve through private support on behalf of our students.
But just as important to the viability of any structure are the elements that fill in its framework. Consistent, regular support from donors willing to give whatever amount their situation allows is the real lifeblood of sustaining Boise State’s advancement over time. A large number of donors who regularly give – no matter the amount – can have an incredible impact. A wonderful example of this is the Boise State Alumni Association’s Legacy Scholarship, which is supported in part by the dues paid by association members. Since its inception a decade ago, the fund has generated more than $1.25 million in scholarship funding and every year it provides crucial scholarship support to students, which is Boise State’s greatest need and top philanthropic priority. Consistent, stable support, year after year, at all levels of giving fills in the framework and strengthens Boise State’s long-term potential.
Ultimately, a healthy and sustainable philanthropic culture rests on a foundation of supporters eager to help in any way they can. At Boise State, we offer alumni, donors, friends, faculty and staff, students and their families a variety of ways to help Boise State move forward. Many of our donors also are very giving of their time, serving on advisory boards for our Boise State University Foundation, the alumni association, or one of our colleges. Others, especially if they live in another region, may serve as Bronco Contacts or as members of an alumni association chapter in their city.
We are especially eager to engage students and young alumni because we know that those who are engaged with Boise State early on – no matter what form that takes – are more likely to be engaged for a lifetime. And ideas like giving circles or pooled giving are perfect for those with fewer resources who want to make an extraordinary impact.
So, if you like the idea of being a philanthropist, there are many ways of making that happen, especially at Boise State. Give us a call. I bet we can find a philanthropic avenue that is just perfect for you.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.