Day of Giving Results Show Dedication of #MBUfamily

March 23, 2021

The MBU community came together in an extraordinary show of support for the university’s eighth annual day of giving, A Day to Lead the Way, on March 18.

As of March 21, the total came in at $408,779 from 414 generous donors, exceeding the university’s goal of $400,000 from 400 donors. All proceeds go towards supporting the university’s students in areas of greatest need.

“I offer my heartfelt thanks to each and every member of the MBU family for giving during A Day to Lead the Way,” President Pamela R. Fox said. “Because of you, our students are able to continue their education without pause, and remain on the path to lead lives of personal and professional success.”

#MBUfamily pride

A Day to Lead the Way 2021 saw the university community honoring the determination of students, faculty, and staff over the past year, as they have navigated a difficult era with courage and empathy.  

“I am impressed with how Mary Baldwin is flexing to empower students in these challenging times,” said Lindsay Ryland ’73, donor and A Day to Lead the Way champion. “A year ago, we had no idea that we would still be living under pandemic conditions even now. Mary Baldwin has responded — with the number one priority of keeping students safe on campus — while continuing to offer strong academic programs.” 

On MBU social channels, A Day to Lead the Way highlighted stories of faculty and staff dedication and student success during spring semester, including essential training in pediatrics for occupational therapy students, performing Shakespeare safely, and virtual study abroad opportunities.

“It’s been a tough year for all of us in many ways, and I’m proud to support Mary Baldwin,” said donor and volunteer Clair Carter Bell ’76. “The university has done a great job keeping the students, faculty, and staff well, while continuing to provide a college experience that is as normal as possible during these difficult times.”

This year’s results eclipsed those from 2020 when MBU’s Day of Giving saw 340 donors rally a total of $311,872, one day after the university announced it was cancelling in-person classes due to the pandemic’s growing threat.

Students including (l-r) Tiana '23, Deja '21, and Tyler '22 shared on social media what makes their MBU experience meaningful for Day to Lead the Way.

Highlights of the day

Even before the official start, 86 donors made an early gift to support students’ hands-on learning and one-to-one experiences with professors. 

More than 50 Day to Lead champions mobilized to help spread the excitement of MBU’s day of giving to their networks of classmates and friends, encouraging others to participate. See some of the day’s highlights from champions’ and alumni’s social feeds here.

“We couldn’t have done it without the support of our A Day to Lead the Way champions,” said Megan McAllister, director of annual philanthropy. “In the weeks leading up to our day of giving, they rallied their classmates through making hundreds of calls, posting on social media, and even changing their travel plans so they could follow along with the excitement on the day. I was blown away by their support, and am incredibly grateful to each and every one of them.” 

In the morning, President Pamela Fox led a $5,000 matching hour, in which 47 donors successfully more than doubled the hour’s impact for a total of $19,315. This year’s matching hour results also set a new record for the university, more than doubling the amount that was raised last year during the matching hour. 

Halfway through the day, an additional $50,000 gift was unlocked when donors rallied to meet the $200,000 benchmark.  

New to this year’s A Day to Lead the Way were two fun and unique ways to engage alumni and students while being mindful of health and safety precautions. 

A scavenger hunt on both the Staunton and Fishersville campuses helped show current students the importance of philanthropy, as they followed clues to campus landmarks and resources that were made possible by donors.

Capping the day of giving was a virtual event for all alumni that featured a special look at the day’s progress, university-wide updates from the president, Squirrel Jeopardy: MBU trivia, and class socializing. 

Momentum through giving

Through the power of philanthropy on the day of giving and beyond, MBU donors enable students to continue striving forward academically and participate in shared experiences that nurture and inspire.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I owe so much to Mary Baldwin,” said donor and Trustee Dr. Katherine Smallwood 75, who also serves on the MBU Empowers Campaign Committee. “My love of art and museums was enhanced by Mrs. Echols’s art history classes. My love of reading, especially novels, was increased dramatically by Dr. Lott’s English courses. My biology major provided the background and skills necessary for medical school and my profession. So why wouldn’t I give back to Mary Baldwin as best I can? I’m sure all alumni have similar examples and feel the same way!”

A Day to Lead the Way highlighted how MBU students are learning how to thrive and succeed in a changing world at the university. They connect with professors who become their mentors, access research opportunities early in their academic careers, and pursue experiences and training that are vital counterparts to their courses.

“A Day to Lead the Way is so impactful and meaningful to me, because it’s all about connections,” said donor and Board of Trustees Chair Gabrielle McCree ’83. “First to our students and their remarkable stories. Nothing is more satisfying than empowering their development and supporting our evolving mission. A Day to Lead also connects us to faithful donors who can assist in expanding our community of philanthropy and champions of MBU.” 

More information and results are available on the Day to Lead the Way site.