AC deems Giving Day as 'smash hit'

Austin College
Austin College celebrated its Giving Day on March 30 at the Sherman college.

The first Austin College Giving Day on March 30 was deemed an “absolute smash hit” by organizer Leanna Swart, director of Annual Giving. She described the event as a 24-hour fundraising campaign, ‘Give Where Your Heart Is,’ in support of Austin College greatest needs. “Annual support is more important now than ever,” she said. “With the unique challenges of COVID-19 over the past year, Austin College has been able to positively pivot for the benefit of our students.” Her message to alumni and friends of the College: “Now we’d like your help celebrating our first annual Giving Day and making a gift to our effort.” 

Help they did. The goal for the event was 200 donors. At the end of the day, total donors numbered 526, and gifts totaled just over $305,000.  

Several alumni social media ambassadors built awareness about the campaign in the days leading up to the event and contacted friends throughout the day to urge them to give.  

Another group of alumni did even more—matching the gifts of others. Jim Jarratt, graduate of 1967 of Granbury, donated $100 for each of the first 200 donors on giving day, for a total gift of $20,000. He also made a dollar-for-dollar match for gifts made to the Crimson and Gold Fund, benefiting Austin College Athletics, up to $5,000.

Jarratt’s Austin College Giving Day gift was $25,000. “When Austin College is the beneficiary of your time, talent and treasure, it is accepted as an expression of your hope for the future,” Jarratt said.  

Austin College celebrated its Giving Day on March 30 at the Sherman college.

“The bottom line,” Jarratt continued, “I am so appreciative of the education afforded to me through the generosity of those who came before me, and I am so encouraged and impressed by the Austin College students, faculty, and staff, that I want my future to be determined by Austin College graduates. You might say that I’m giving back; I say that I’m paying forward. Every gift helps to insure the future of Austin College.” 

Young alumni John Rauschuber,  graduate of 2011 and his wife, Casey Rauschuber, graduate of 2012, challenged alumni in a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $2,000, during the “Power Hour” from Noon to 1 p.m. The couple has made matching gift challenges on behalf of Austin College before. "We are very appreciative of the continued opportunities granted to us through our experience at Austin College,” John said. “During these unprecedented times, the thoughtful generosity of our fellow Austin College alumni makes a tangible difference to students past and present, and we all play an important role in keeping the Austin College community healthy and thriving," Casey said. The family lives in Dallas and includes a baby daughter, Anita, who they hope will be a ’Roo someday.  

President Steven O’Day and his wife, Cece, put forth a final challenge to first-time donors. The couple gave $50 for every gift from the first 20 first-time donors. “Every gift to Austin College matters! Please help us continue in our mission to provide a high-quality education to our talented students while growing our support base,” President O’Day said. “In 2020, 14% of our alumni made a gift to Austin College. We can’t increase our participation percentage without generosity from new alumni donors. If you have not donated in the past, we hope you’ll make your first gift today!”