Providence College’s ‘Friars Give’ day raises record $2.8M

PROVIDENCE COLLEGE'S annual 'Friars Give' fundraising initiative on April 6 raised approximately $2.8 million for the college, a new record. / COURTESY PROVIDENCE COLLEGE
PROVIDENCE COLLEGE'S annual 'Friars Give' fundraising initiative on April 6 raised approximately $2.8 million for the college, a new record. / COURTESY PROVIDENCE COLLEGE

PROVIDENCE – Six years ago, Providence College first launched its annual “Friars Give” annual springtime giving initiative, reaching out to those closely associated to the Dominican Friar college – both within Rhode Island and beyond – to offer financial support to PC and its students, not really knowing what to expect at the time.

With the exception of the 2019 fiscal year, Friars Give had set new benchmarks in annual fundraising for the college every year since. The bar was once again raised to another level back on April 6.

The 24-hour initiative’s 2022 edition netted PC record highs in monetary donations received at $2.8 million and contributing donors at 2,954. The amount of donated funds exceeded 2021’s mark by close to $700,000. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Friars Give saw close to $1.5 million be donated to PC.

“It’s a moment of urgency for the community to galvanize its communal support for a place that they love,” Greg Waldron, PC’s senior vice president for institutional advancement, said of Friars Give. “This is a special place and it’s a special community. That tagline that [men’s basketball coach] Ed [Cooley] uses, ‘Us. We. Together. Family. Friars.,’ it isn’t really a tagline. It’s more an apt description and the results of Friars Give, I think, is representative of that. Those aren’t just words; they’re followed by action.”

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Waldron added that the college back in 2017 set a $100,000 fundraising goal for the day, not sure how much the college would raise as the inaugural 24-hour initiative unfolded. But, the college community known as “Friartown” was pleasantly surprised when its fundraising goal was exceeded by sevenfold. And in five of the next “Friars Give” days, including April 6, the amount of money raised for PC continues to grow.

Waldron said that even though Friars Give falls close to the same timeframe as the annual 401Gives Day statewide fundraising initiative for nonprofits – which netted more than $3 million this year – significant donations still came to the college. He said Friars Give donations from alumni and friends of PC come from across the country and beyond to the school.

This year also for the first time saw the college receive a $1 million surprise matching gift from an anonymous donor for the initiative, Waldron said. The donor contributed the matching gift once Friars Give reached $1 million in donations received on April 6.

Waldron said the large anonymous gift was “really important” not just for the event itself, but also an example that can be modeled by others for future PC-related campaigns.

Waldron also said the performance of PC’s men’s basketball team this year, which saw the Friars win their first-ever Big East Conference regular-season title and advance to the NCAA Tournament’s “Sweet 16” round for the first time since 1997, also factored into many more donations coming to the college this year.

He said during the day, many messages on the “Gratitude Wall” on campus pointed to both Cooley and the men’s basketball team, thanking the team for “something that we all needed.”

“It provided the college, city and state something to rally behind, especially coming out of the [COVID-19] pandemic,” Waldron said.

Waldron said most of the money raised on Friars Give will be used for scholarships and addressing “the greatest needs” for the campus. He said some of those “greatest” needs include financial aid for students to offer as many students as possible the chance to attend PC, regardless of geography or financial means.

“It ensures that PC will stick to its core principle [to give the opportunity for an education],” Waldron said. “PC was founded to educate immigrant children when other schools weren’t providing access to them.”

Waldron also said PC is in the planning stages of putting together a “comprehensive campaign” to further assist the college, as well as focusing on growing its approximately $375 million endowment.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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