HUNTINGTON, W.V. – Through their 2020 fundraising efforts, Marshall University’s Mid-Ohio Valley Alumni Chapter made a $30,000 gift to the Marshall University Foundation.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Alumni Chapter, which serves Marshall alumni from Wood County, West Virginia, and the surrounding areas, has supported the university through scholarships and gifts to the Big Green Foundation for numerous years. Despite the pandemic, creative chapter members found ways to raise support.
Having already received funds for their annual scholarship fundraising dinner, the chapter requested that those businesses, organizations, and individuals who had contributed to the spring event allow the chapter to apply those dollars to their scholarships. Less than $1,000 of the $15,600 raised was all that was returned.
The chapter then contacted those who attended their fundraising dinner over the past three years and asked if they would like to support the scholarships again, an effort that resulted in nearly $10,000 in gifts.
In early summer, the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter hosted an online auction of 40 Marshall-themed items, many of which were provided by the Big Green Foundation. Many other items were donated from the estate of Tom Jamison, a Marshall alumnus and lifelong supporter, by his family. This effort generated $7,000.
“We were no different than many other organizations when we were faced with the reality that our only means of fundraising was cut off. With no in-person scholarship fundraising dinner and no Big Green Rally by the River, we had to think outside the box to do what we have always done in the past–provide scholarships to Mid-Ohio Valley students who would be attending Marshall University in the fall of 2020,” said Ed Hofmann, chapter treasurer, who saw an increase of students applying for scholarships through the chapter. “We had to put a heavy emphasis on scholarships and ended up providing $1,000 scholarships to 14 students from the Mid-Ohio Valley, along with contributions to other programs.”
The chapter’s $30,000 contribution was distributed among several funds, including the Mid-Ohio Valley Alumni Thundering Bison Club Scholarship Endowment for upperclassmen, which now stands at $28,000; the Parkersburg Mid-Ohio Valley Alumni Club Scholarship for freshmen; the Mid-Ohio Valley Alumni Thundering Bison Scholarship for the College of Arts and Media; Marshall University Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley Thundering Bison Club School of Medicine Scholarship; the Big Green Foundation; Marshall University’s H.E.L.P. program and the Marshall University Alumni Association.
Jill Parsons, the chapter’s vice president, believes their success was possible because of community engagement.
“It was all about the relationships and engagement within the community,” she said. “The online auction started at a good time. Everyone was getting bored at home and needed to take their mind off pandemic news.”
The Mid-Ohio Valley Alumni Chapter is dedicated to the prosperity of students who wish to attend Marshall University. They were welcomed into the Marshall University Foundation’s President’s Circle in 2018. The President’s Circle recognizes individuals and organizations that have a lifetime giving ranging from $100,000 to $250,000. It is the chapter’s hope that students pay it forward to Marshall University in the future.
“I hope that students realize that people care and want to help them achieve a higher education at Marshall University,” said Laurie Martin, chapter president. “Hopefully at some point in their lives, they can pay it forward, and not necessarily in monetary terms. Paying it forward can also be accomplished by volunteering time to Marshall or by working with an alumni chapter to help raise funds for scholarships or other programs that need additional support.”