24 hours of giving

MRU will celebrate its generous donor community on its first Giving Day Nov. 30



Every year, the Tuesday after Cyber Monday is celebrated as the National Day of Giving, known around the world as a time to start the holiday season by giving back to communities. This year on Nov. 30, the Mount Royal University Foundation will host its first ever Giving Day in recognition of philanthropy on campus and to highlight the impact of MRU’s generous donor community.

Dr. Tim Rahilly, PhD, MRU’s president and vice-chancellor, says, “Giving Day is a day devoted to celebrating the stories and people that make Mount Royal the great and inspiring place we all know it to be.”

A reminder that we all have the opportunity to lift others up, especially during difficult times, there are many ways to get involved in Giving Day. Starting at 8 a.m. on Nov. 30 and ending the following day at 7:59 a.m., several challenges will take place. Prizes will go to the persons making the first donation, the last donation, the gift from furthest away, the gift received closest to 19:10 p.m. (the year of Mount Royal’s founding), and more.

To start off the festivities, the Foundation has launched a 50/50 Cash Raffle, which anyone can take part in now.

“This is a day when we can rally together and collectively support students and their goals for the future,” Rahilly says. “MRU’s goal on Nov. 30 is to engage people in our community and ask them to share what motivates them to give. My reason to give is to support students and the good work that leads us to the vision we have for MRU."

Rahilly has established the Phyllis Rahilly Memorial Bursary in Nursing in the name of his mother, which will go to equity-deserving groups such as members of the BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ2+ communities. The bursary is a fitting tribute, as Rahilly’s mother worked as a nurse for many years and advocated for the inclusion of underrepresented groups in her industry.

Opportunities unlocked through charitable mindsets

Mount Royal’s generous donor community has provided more than $100,000 in matching funds to inspire others to not only give, but to create an even greater impact for MRU students. Donors can choose how to direct their funds — to their favorite athletic team, a specific scholarship, or to their program of choice. Any amount is welcome and 100 per cent of each donation will go exactly where donors want it. If by the end of the day the Foundation has registered 400 unique (or new) donors, another anonymous donation to MRU’s scholarship program will be “unlocked.”

“This is a challenging time for students, and with all the uncertainty they are facing, we want them to have access to the financial and social supports that will help them be successful in their MRU journey,” says Terry Kellam, the Foundation’s executive director and MRU’s associate vice-president of Development. “This year at the MRU Foundation we are really focused on bringing our alumni, donor and campus community together to increase support for students.”

Mount Royal's President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Tim Rahilly, PhD.

Mount Royal's President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Tim Rahilly, PhD, has established the Phyllis Rahilly Memorial Bursary in Nursing as his gift to the University.

The Foundation’s 2020/21 Community Impact Report details just a few of MRU’s giving highlights from last year, including a total of $5,608,247 raised. That is an increase of 85 per cent from the previous year, of which 100 per cent went to scholarships, bursaries and other areas that support students. More than 1,000 students received donor-funded awards.

Leading up to Nov. 30, MRU will also present the stories of students whose academic and personal lives were greatly impacted through the power of a gift. Each has said that the funds they received – whether it was through a scholarship, bursary or award – were fundamental to their success. Driven by donations to MRU, student awards are a main focus of Giving Day.

“MRU's first Giving Day will help raise much-needed funds and awareness for many areas, especially student awards that will help MRU students today and in the future,” Kellam says.

Giving feels good, studies say, with Psychology Today Canada positing that providing donations reinforces connections with our communities and others, building experiences and not “things.” The positive feelings that come after giving are reinforced for some time, something interior design alumna Amanda Hamilton, owner of Amanda Hamilton Interior Design, says has been very real for her. Hamilton has established a scholarship for interior design students at MRU, saying that growing up in an extended family of educators left her with an academic mindset that is both a personal and professional value.

“Giving back to my alma mater and supporting the students in the interior design program as a donor isn’t just about the financial impact — it’s also about opening up opportunities. Our scholarship, the Amanda M. Hamilton Interior Design Travel Scholarship, allows students to experience design internationally, learn about diverse cultures and stretch their minds to a world outside of our community,” Hamilton says.

There are a million reasons to give. What’s yours?

Nov. 3, 2021 — Michelle Bodnar