Supporting bright ideas

November 4th, 2021

Texas A&M College of Dentistry, alongside other university system members, is home to bright ideas and people coming together for good causes.

Aggie ringA relatively new crowdfunding program called the Spirit of Giving helps faculty, staff and student organizations raise financial support for specific programs or projects. The effort fosters the giving spirit that Texas A&M University regularly advocates on all campuses.

Launched last November by then-President Michael K. Young and the Texas A&M Foundation, this Aggie-centric version of GoFundMe has raised $279,200 to date for scholarship and fellowship funds, student group initiatives, university outreach programs and more. It serves as the official crowdfunding site for Texas A&M.

“Like so many giving opportunities at Texas A&M, this program embodies the Aggie Spirit,” says Kelly Brown, associate vice president of the Texas A&M Division of Marketing and Communications. “The efforts come from the ground up: Students, faculty and staff take their appeal straight to potential donors, and those requests then stand on their own merit. Meanwhile, donors are able to give back immediately and directly. The philanthropy involved here highlights that smaller gifts can make a huge difference.”

In a statement announcing the launch of Spirit of Giving, Young said that every gift made to these projects will directly benefit the students of A&M. The initiative includes all of the university system’s campuses, such as the dental college, Brown says, not just the flagship in College Station.

According to applicant information on the Spirit of Giving website, appropriate projects for submission must be short-term efforts that can be completed within four to six weeks of launch. Fundraising goals are recommended to be capped at $5,000 or less. The university ultimately plans for three cohorts of projects to be launched per academic year, with each fundraising campaign active for 30 to 45 days.

Guidelines specify that the money raised must benefit a university initiative, university program, student organization or department. Donations cannot benefit or be designated to one specific person or a third party organization.

Brown explains that the Spirit of Giving’s success involves a collaborative effort. The Texas A&M Foundation hosts the website and handles the donations, she says. Marketing and communications team members assist with content development and promotion. Of course, the university family contributes the great ideas and funding.

The next submission deadline for projects is Dec. 3. Applicant information provides additional details and tips for success.

— Caleb Vierkant