LEADING and INFLUENCING are the hallmarks of a Katie. They are also the calls-to-action that connect alumni to today’s student needs by inspiring them to give to the Katie Fund. Dollars from the Katie Fund, St. Kate’s annual giving program, flow directly to the area of greatest need and most immediate opportunity. The Katie Fund is a powerful tool for the University to fulfill its mission to educate women leaders.
“The Katie Fund impacts all students,” says student Gabrielle Agbenyiga ’24. “From building maintenance, media resources, and technology, to scholarships and financial aid, every Katie Fund gift helps my peers and friends. Because of the Katie Fund, we can receive an education and experience a strong support system.”
Simple, fast, and easy to navigate, the process of donating to the Katie Fund reflects the agility and flexibility of this fund as it supports students experiencing diverse obstacles to their education. While life at St. Kate’s has stabilized since the onset of the pandemic, many Katies still face the challenges of its lingering effects, and the Katie Fund bolsters services such as tutoring, financial aid to close the gap due to lost employment, and more resources for faculty to meet students where they are both academically and social-emotionally. The alumni contributions made through the Katie Fund are being felt by students — whether economics majors like Agbenyiga, biology students like Stephanie Nguyen ’23, or future nurses like Tina Thompson ’22 — like never before.
“We are so grateful that those who were able to give were so generous,” says Mary Beth Iverson ’85, director of Annual Giving. “Recent graduates gave in record numbers. They wanted to show their support and help students keep their education on track. 2021 was our best fundraising year to date, and the generosity of St. Kate’s alumni and friends as we reach the end of 2022 is similarly strong!”
Paying it forward to provide opportunities for other women is a reason to give that has resonated with generations of Katies. Regardless of where they live, what they do, or what year they graduated, donors to the Katie Fund find themselves moved by their own St. Kate’s education. Mary Albright Michel ’71, for example, has given to the Katie Fund throughout her life: “I had a wonderful experience and a terrific education at St. Kate’s. I look back and feel such gratitude for what I was given, and I love that I can help other young women have the same opportunity.”
Donors also share a strong desire to support St. Kate’s mission to create a broader, more diverse community. As Kelly Vinson-Taylor ’90 attests, “There is never a question that I will donate to St. Kate’s. I was a first-generation college student and I know its challenges. Attending St. Kate’s made such a difference in my life: lifelong friendships and a network of Katies no matter where I travel. I want other women to have that, especially first-generation and BIPOC students. I truly believe by donating money to St. Kate’s, alumni are fulfilling students’ dreams.”
Each year, two special days celebrate this spirit of paying it forward to current and future Katies.
- Give to St. Kate’s Day is the University’s largest single day of donor participation every year. In November 2021, 900 supporters raised more than $471,953.
- In February 2022, Give to Honor Her gifts honored 726 women who have made a positive difference both in the life of a Katie and the world.
“Contributing on these days makes a big difference,” says Iverson. “Our Katies make amazing change in the world, and through the Katie Fund they empower future lives of meaning.”