Big hearts during Big Give provide generous support to Tigers in need

By Cody Boteler on August 19, 2020

TU surpasses fundraising goal by $400,000.

West Village Commons sign
More than 970 students have been helped by emergency funds generously provided by donors.

Donors to Towson University gave about $180,000 during The Big Give this year, providing relief to the Tiger community through the TU Student Emergency & Food Insecurity Fund, the TU Faculty & Staff Emergency Fund and the TU Fund.

Previously a weeklong event, Towson University reimagined the 2020 Big Give as a one-day challenge to raise money for students, faculty and staff facing economic hardship because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 22, about $130,000 came in from 1,300 donors. This was the second consecutive year that The Big Give encouraged more than $100,000 in donations.

Because that $100,000 benchmark was met, a member of the class of 1979 made an additional $50,000 challenge gift, bringing in $180,000 for the TU Student Emergency & Food Insecurity Fund, the TU Faculty & Staff Emergency Fund and the TU Fund.

Including the money raised during The Big Give, Towson University donors generously donated more than $12.4 million this year, despite the global pandemic.

Gifts to the student emergency fund directly support students struggling to meet their financial obligations for housing, necessary medications, education-related expenses for online classes, travel home, unmet financial obligations due to loss of employment and to students experiencing food insecurity.

Because of TU's Student Emergency Fund, we were able to pay our bills and put food in our fridge when I thought we absolutely couldn’t. ”

A student helped by emergency funds

One graduate student says both his parents lost their jobs because of the pandemic and economic downturn in early 2020. At the time, he was wrapping up his undergraduate degree at Towson University.

“The TU community was able to provide my family and I hope through the emergency fund,” he says. “I want to thank [our donors] for being there for me and my family, and for helping me finish my last semester of college.”

A junior studying psychology, sociology and anthropology says she was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few months back, along with her mother, who is an essential worker.

“Because of TU' Student Emergency Fund, we were able to pay our bills and put food in our fridge when I thought we absolutely couldn’t,” she says. “I want to thank the donors because I was able to finish my spring term, and we were able to get better. Thank you for supporting me and my fellow students—and me and my mom.”

Allison Peer, director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education, worked directly with some students who were accessing the emergency funds.

She says donors “don’t know the impact [they] have made on our students.”

“It has been significant to so many people who have found themselves heavily impacted by what has happened in the past several months,” Peer says. “It makes me proud to be a Tiger.”

So far, more than 970 students have received assistance from the emergency funds. Grants remain available for students who need assistance.

“This year has been extraordinary in many ways, not the least of which is how our TU community came together to support our students and the work of this incredible university during very challenging times,” says Brian DeFilippis, vice president for university advancement.

Donations to the TU Fund and the Student Emergency & Food Insecurity Fund can be made online. Students experiencing food insecurity or other emergencies can apply online to receive funds.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: Culture of Philanthropy.