The Class of 2005 earned the distinction of being the youngest class to establish a Wheaton Fund scholarship after a successful crowdfunding campaign this past June.
In honor of its 10th Reunion, the class’s fundraising committee developed the crowdfunding campaign, “Our Class + One Scholar = Big Impact,” to encourage classmates to support a financially deserving student with a scholarship next year. During its 30-day run, 20 donors raised $4,331, which far surpassed the original $3,000 goal.
Organizers set up the campaign using the online fundraising tool, GiveCampus. A core group of 10 “ambassadors” then promoted the webpage through emails and social media, and spread the word during Reunion Weekend, according to Zoe Hack Keller ’05, who spearheaded the effort with Sarah Lenes ’05.
The website included a student-made video, and compelled Class of 2005 alumnae/i to support the scholarship to “help create the robust and dynamic student body we love.” The giving page described scholarships as “an essential ingredient in the secret sauce that makes Wheaton special,” noting that 60 percent of the college’s students receive some form of financial assistance.
“I’m thrilled that we surpassed our goal,” Keller said, adding that the fundraising committee only could claim the money if the $3,000 goal was met. “We weren’t sure how far over we’d get. But people seemed really excited about the scholarship and continued to be generous even after the goal was met.”
The creation of a scholarship resonates with classmates as many of them received financial assistance as Wheaton students, she said. “Financial aid is something most alumnae/i are excited about. Many of us received a scholarship to attend Wheaton, or had friends and teammates who did.”
On a personal note, Keller said, “I give to Wheaton as a token of my thanks for the transformative education I received. I was a scholarship recipient, and I want to do my part by giving back to future generations of Wheaton students.”
The campaign inspired many first-time donors to give, according to Scott Nickle ’11, assistant director of the Wheaton Fund, who helped with the effort. “A ton of people came out of the woodwork,” he said.
Keller seconded that. “I think people connected to the specificity of the project, the social aspect of giving through GiveCampus, and the need for scholarship funding at Wheaton,” she said.
The class looks forward to meeting the beneficiary of the campaign. “We’re excited to see who receives the Class of 2005 Scholarship and get to know them over the coming year,” Keller said.