Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 12:00
Donors contributed $18.4 million last year, mostly through gifts restricted to specific purposes
by Diane Cornell
Despite the many challenges posed by the pandemic, the Rider community continued to demonstrate strong support for the University’s mission and its students last fiscal year by raising more than $18.4 million for scholarships, the Annual Fund, academic programs, athletics and improvements to campus facilities.
One particular effort included 124 alumni, parents, current and retired faculty, staff and friends, who raised $76,000 in emergency relief funds and scholarships to assist students facing severe financial hardship due to the coronavirus’ spread. Those monies included support for Rider’s Food Pantry, which has seen an increase in visits due to the financial effect of the pandemic and its impact on students’ food insecurity.
The total raised also included 988 gifts from faculty and staff, contributed during a five-month employee giving challenge called “All In.” More than 30% percent of employees participated in the challenge, which raised $68,000 for programs and scholarships. Student Affairs won the challenge, with 50% of its staff contributing to the University-wide effort.
In addition, the 2020 senior class gift raised $6,255 from more than 100 donors. Those who contributed will have their personalized bricks installed on Kaplan Plaza. In total, 4,000 donors made gifts during FY 2019-2020, which ended June 30, including more than 900 first-time supporters. Donors created 11 new endowed scholarships valued at $6.4 million and contributed $80,000 in support of four new current-use scholarships.
“This year has tested all of us in one way or another,” says Rider President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D. “While every year I am grateful for those who give to the University, I am especially thankful to the thousands of donors this year who have demonstrated a remarkable level of support for Rider despite all the challenges they themselves might be facing. It says a lot about the depth of support for our students.”
Building on the momentum of previous years, this past fiscal year’s total was the second-best in Rider’s history. In the last three years — Rider’s most successful fundraising years — the University has raised more than $51 million, mostly in restricted funds, which are monies designated for a specific purpose outlined by the donor at the time the gift is made. This past fiscal year, 86% of the total funds raised — more than $16.1 million — were restricted gifts.
The funds the University can draw upon for unrestricted use, called the Annual Fund, was supported by $2.29 million in gifts and bequests, or 14% of all monies raised.
“This past fiscal year was anything but ordinary,” says Vice President for University Advancement Karin Klim. “I am so proud that our Rider family came together to pledge their support for the University and to provide critical financial assistance during this unprecedented time. Every gift made a difference and underscored our donors’ belief in our students and their willingness to support their success.”
Rider received several notable gifts from alumni this past year, including a $10 million gift, the largest gift in its history, from Norm Brodsky ’64 and his wife and business partner, Elaine. The Norm Brodsky College of Business is named in his honor.
In addition, Board of Trustees Chair Rob Schimek ’87 and his wife, Janet Schimek, gave $1 million to fund two business scholarships, and Steven R. Beckett ’74 and his late wife, Sharon A. McDonald-Beckett, pledged their entire estate, worth about $4.5 million, to the University through a planned gift to support full-tuition scholarships for students majoring in accounting.
Among the year’s other gifts were several that were made in honor of others, highlighting the impact one person can make on the life of another. Dozens of colleagues, staff and former students raised $27,000 to establish a scholarship to honor Dr. Jonathan Yavelow, a long-time professor of biology and the former director of the University’s Health Studies Institute.
Faculty member Rob D’Avanzo and his family made a $40,000 commitment to establish The Robert L. D’Avanzo Sr. Endowed Scholarship in memory of Rob’s father who had a legacy of helping young families, and 175 individuals contributed to The Cathy Carter-Romero Memorial Endowed Scholarship, raising more than $26,000.
Darra Prather-Day, the niece of long-time Fine and Performing Arts faculty member Tharyle Prather who died in 2018, established a scholarship for theatre majors with an interest in technical theatre as a tribute to her late uncle.
In yet another gesture to honor a beloved member of the Rider family, more than 40 donors generously contributed to The Rider Scholarship Fund in honor of Ann Keith, a beloved Rider dining services employee who died in April.
Gifts to Rider University can be made online at rideru.thankyou4caring.org/give.