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Thank-a-Donor Week Planned for November 7-10

A new initiative known as “Thank-a-Donor Week” is planned to take place this year from November 7 through November 10. Tables will be set up in various locations throughout the Wilf and Beren Campuses, where students can take a few minutes to write a letter of appreciation to a donor of Yeshiva University. Every student who writes a letter will receive a small gift, and will also be entered into a raffle for a $100 gift card which will be drawn at the end of the week.

The innovative “Thank a Donor Week” initiative was inspired by the “Love a Donor” campaign done at Carnegie Melon on the week of February 14, 2011, where over 1500 students visited similar stations on their campus to write letters of appreciation to donors of Carnegie Mellon. In bringing this event to Yeshiva University, the Donor Relations office hopes “to bring about a greater awareness of philanthropy and its impact at YU,” said Debra Schneiderman, Associate Director of Events Management and Donor Relations. Donors have indeed expressed appreciation at receiving these types of letters in the past, and Ms. Schneiderman believes that receiving correspondence from students is one of the reasons certain donors continue to support the institution.

All students are encouraged to participate in “Thank a Donor Week,” not only students who have technically been awarded scholarships. “Every student at YU is a beneficiary of donations,” explained Ms. Schneiderman. “Tuition does not cover all expenses, and without donors an education at YU would not be possible.” The advertisement for the campaign includes a number of statistics about scholarships in Yeshiva University, including: tuition dollars cover only about half of every student’s education; 75% of Yeshiva University undergraduates receive some level of scholarship assistance; the average scholarship awarded exceeds $20,000; and in the year of 2010–2011, Yeshiva University awarded $38 million of scholarship money to undergraduate students.

“Thank a Donor Week” does not mark the first time students are invited to show appreciation to those who help fund their education. At the annual Scholarship Reception, students and donors have a chance to meet each other over dinner. The speakers at this event include students and faculty members, who express their appreciation for the wide range of opportunities that are all made possible by the donors’ continued support. In addition to this yearly event, individual scholarship awardees have been asked to write specific letters of gratitude for the aid they have received.

The letters written during Thank a Donor Week will be sent to all different types of donors. Recipients of these thank you notes will include annual fund donors, scholarship donors, as well as anyone that the donor relations office feels “needs an extra ‘thanks.’” The desired goal of this campaign is to send 1,000 letters from the Wilf and Beren campuses combined. But, as Ms. Schneiderman points out, “as many as we get, we will send…The more notes that are written, the more donors are reached.”