March Madness shouldn’t be the only competition SUNY Cortland graduates are tuned in to next month.
That’s because the College will hold a month-long philanthropy challenge among young alumni classes (2005-2014) throughout March, with $10,000 on the line for the winning group’s most popular campus cause.
The Ignite Challenge — which borrows its name from the College’s initiative to engage young alumni — allows recent graduates to make very modest gifts that could end up meaning a lot to a particular sports team, academic department or College initiative. The Challenge will be measured in participation numbers, not dollars. The class with the highest number of total participation points at the end of the month wins the challenge.
Besides bragging rights, the winning class will earn the potential to make a lasting impact at SUNY Cortland — in the form of a $10,000 gift to the group’s most popular gift designation. That prize pot comes from a generous anonymous challenge donor and will be awarded on top of the contributions made by recent alumni.
Graduates can give to many common gift designations. They include any academic department or athletic team; student affairs programming; the Raquette Lake Endowment; or The Cortland Fund.
For example, if the class of 2010 leads all classes with 100 participation points, and more alumni in that group support the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department than anything else, a $10,000 gift will be made to that department on behalf of the winning class.
Several important challenge opportunities can improve a class’ participation numbers throughout the month.
For instance, young graduates should circle Tuesdays on their calendars. Double Point Tuesdays take place each week during March. Each Tuesday, certain types of graduate’s gift will count as two gifts when it comes to their class’ overall score. Here’s how they break down:
Tuesday, March 3: all gifts count as two to commemorate the start of the challenge.
Tuesday, March 10: gifts from members of Greek fraternities or sororities count as two.
Tuesday, March 17: gifts from former student-athletes count as two.
Tuesday, March 24: gifts from class years recognized at Reunion 2015 (Classes of 2005 and 2010 and Student Government Association) count as two.
Tuesday, March 31: all gifts count as two to make one final push in the standings.
Graduates also will want to consider making a gift on a Friday during the month. On For the Win Fridays, anyone who makes a gift will be entered in a raffle to win an alumni prize. One winner will be announced each week.
Last year’s 2/27 Challenge, the College’s first-ever 24-hour fundraising competition held on Feb. 27, raised a total of $102,857 to support scholarships, undergraduate research, athletics and other priorities; more than tripling the number of donors targeted by its initial goal.
For more information, including the most up to date class standings, visit the Ignite Challenge webpage.