NC State faculty and staff broke their own record for giving, contributing $586,581 to help those in need through the 2011 Wolfpack Gives Back Campaign.
From organizing pizza lunches to running the Polar Plunge event, volunteers used a combination of creativity, teamwork and digging deep to surpass the 2010 total of $579,448. In addition to giving more money than ever before, NC State had the most university participants and the highest per capita giving among UNC system schools in this year’s State Employees Combined Campaign.
“The SECC is very impressed by the historic efforts of NC State employees who donated in this difficult economic environment and thankful for their generosity, which will benefit those in need across the state,” said Moses Carey, secretary of the Department of Administration, who chaired the statewide campaign.
Serving and Eating Together
Pizza and a passion for community service fueled the NCSU Libraries’ approach to the Wolfpack Gives Back effort.
The first campaign update featured nonprofits where staff members had volunteered together for community service projects. Coordinator Kristine Alpi got her colleagues involved in suggesting charities to highlight each week.
Another motivating factor was the opportunity to give to Friends of the Library in memory of colleague Liz Burnette. “That was especially heartfelt,” Alpi said.
A pizza lunch for library employees from across campus added an element of fun to the fundraising. Director Susan Nutter underwrote the pizza costs so that all donations benefited charities. Two diners’ charities of choice, Habitat for Humanity and America’s VetDogs, were selected in a drawing to receive privately donated funds.
More than half of those attending were new donors, which helped boost the Libraries’ participation rate from 49 to 72 percent.
Alpi, director of the Kenan Library of Veterinary Medicine, joined 150 volunteer advisory council members, division leaders and team captains across campus, many of whom help year after year.
“The secret to NC State’s success is volunteers who are willing to ask fellow employees to support the campaign,” said Nevin Kessler, vice chancellor for university advancement and chair of the Wolfpack Gives Back Advisory Council. “I was pleasantly surprised that we accomplished so much, especially given the economic challenges that employees are facing again this year.”
Taking the Plunge
Talk about a challenge: NC State volunteers raised a large chunk of the 2011 donations—$57,700—in the icy cold.
The Polar Plunge for Special Olympics, first organized by campus police seven years ago, attracted 100 people willing to take a dip in Lake Raleigh last February, along with 800 runners of all ages. Now part of the Wolfpack Gives Back campaign, the event has expanded with the run’s addition to a local series of events. 2011 contributions increased by more than $13,000.
Hundreds of volunteers help with the fundraiser, one of the top 10 individual events for Special Olympics in the state, said Amy Orders, one of the original organizers.
“NC State has a huge relationship with Special Olympics, including games on campus, events at McKimmon and equestrian events at the state fairgrounds,” said Orders, an assistant director with Environmental Health and Safety.
Ready for a shot of what Orders calls “pure elation”? Sign up for the Polar Plunge and 5K Run Feb. 25 on Centennial Campus.
“Right now, we’re at the point of putting shoe leather to pavement,” she said.