The power in numbers: How individual donations make a lasting impact

Power in numbers

“I think giving is really important, but I guess I don’t think of what I do as philanthropy,” said Carolyn Speer with a light laugh. “I just think it’s important to participate in your life – in your whole life – so I look at the things that support the world I want to live in and support those things.”

Speer works at Wichita State in the Office of Instructional Resources, and she’s always found education to be one of those things worth supporting. She gives partly because of her professional affiliation, but much more because she believes in the mission of WSU within the larger Wichita community.

She isn’t alone.

Faith Tucker now runs her own financial technology startup, but she remembers the significant impact her own experience as a scholarship recipient at WSU had on her life.

“When I didn’t know how I would afford tuition, those scholarships made all the difference,” she recalled. “I remember bawling when I found out I received one. So when I was in a position to do the same for current students, I immediately did.”

Tucker and Speer know their gifts make a bigger difference through the combined efforts of many. During the 2021 fiscal year alone, gifts of $1,000 and under added up to more than $2.9 million, which has a significant impact on students across WSU.

Some donors give because of a passion for education.

Many give as alumni to continue the legacy of the university.

Others because WSU is a key element of our thriving Wichita community.

Despite the reason inspiring your giving, your generosity advances the mission of the university. Whether you support scholarships, individual colleges, events, departments or student organizations, each and every dollar helps Wichita State drive prosperity in our community. It opens doors to higher education, develops students into professionals, funds faculty in ground-breaking research and inspires growth in the city at large.

Brittany Welch, senior vice president at Union State Bank, shared her own experience with learning how significant each individual donation is, no matter what form it takes.

“My parents always encouraged us to give our time when we had nothing else to give, and that showed me there is no effort that’s too small,” said Welch. “Early on, I was only giving $2 a month because that’s what I had. But even if you can give just a little bit to help make a difference in someone else’s life, it will still enrich our community.”

As Wichita State’s student body reflects a diverse population of ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, genders and beliefs, so too do our donors. From recent graduates and faculty to established professionals, corporations and friends of the university, every donor makes a difference.

“In the long life of a university like Wichita State, a single gift, large or small, can impact an individual, or many,” said Lynn Nichols, incoming board chair for the WSU Foundation. “It can help them move forward to make a better life for themselves or create an advancement for the good of all. You never know how far it will reach – that is why it’s important to give back.”

Carolyn Speer, Faith Tucker, Brittany Welch

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