CSM Launches $10 Million Campaign to Make An Impact

Online Giving Day Shatters Goals, Encouraging Donations At All Levels

Melissa Chambers of White Plains was all smiles as she leaned over the table to write out her donation to the College of Southern Maryland Foundation on Impact Tuesday, Nov. 29, at CSM’s La Plata Campus. “CSM made such a difference in my life, and I just want to make a difference in someone else’s life,” Chambers, a 2011 grad and current CSM employee, said. “I’m very appreciative of my time here.”

Chambers was one of 271 donors who responded to the CSM Foundation’s public launch of its $10-million “Make An Impact” campaign, celebrated at all three campuses on CSM’s fifth annual observation of Giving Tuesday. The public launch garnered $70,152 in donations, which was nearly double the $36,424 raised last year from 163 donors. The campaign, “Make An Impact: Invest Today to Transform Tomorrow,” aims to raise $10 million by 2018, when the college will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The campaign will benefit three areas — scholarships, programs/facilities and entrepreneur partnerships.

“I can’t believe the amazing results from Impact Tuesday,” said Nancy Hempstead, first vice chair of the CSM Foundation Board. “We far exceeded our goals. What a great beginning as we embark on the public launch of our $10 million campaign. I am so proud to be part of the CSM Foundation Board and the community in which we serve. This is a true testament to the partnerships that exist between our students, faculty, employees, local businesses and others in our community.”

Traditionally, Giving Tuesday follows Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday as an opportunity to emphasize philanthropy after those days of frenzied consumerism. This year’s Giving Tuesday included celebrations held at each campus, at which CSM Foundation directors, college employees and students assisted in the Nov. 29 public launch of the campaign. Donations made during CSM’s 24-hour online Giving Tuesday event of Impact Tuesday were directed to several initiatives to inspire, influence or innovate in the community, including scholarships to help students afford degree programs and career and trades programs as well as support for the arts, athletics, the St. Charles Children’s Learning Center at CSM, the Center for Trades and Energy Training, Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute, and STEM.

More than a dozen students who have benefited from scholarships, one of the areas designated for the donated funds, attended the campus celebrations, including Bradley Bears of Waldorf, a second-year accounting student at CSM, who said he supported the campaign so as “to help the people coming [to CSM] after me.”

“I wanted to help people out the way they helped me,” said Michelle Collins of Waldorf, a current CSM nursing student who has received scholarship assistance and also worked as a volunteer with Bears.

Beyond collecting donations, CSM Development Director Chelsea Brown explained the Giving Tuesday goal was to involve at least 200 donors in the Nov. 29 event, and it was designed to encourage even very small donations, so that every member of the community could invest in the campaign. For example, two current students, Victoria Wheeler and Kevonna Dunnington, both of Waldorf, stopped by the La Plata Campus celebration just to investigate the festivities but after learning about the campaign’s goals and that even small donations were welcome and could make a difference, they both pulled out a few dollars to donate toward the cause.

Linda Cox, a director with the CSM Foundation and a member of the first graduating class at the current La Plata Campus, along with her niece and CSM alumna, Lisa Case, helped staff the event and promoted the Cox Family Memorial Endowed Scholarship, one of many matching scholarship funds participating in the drive. The Cox family scholarship was started in 1991 initially in honor of Linda’s mother-in-law and later her husband, Donald; Lisa’s mother, Marilyn; and a brother-in-law, John Cox. “The college has always been part of our lives,” Cox said. She said she wants to support its new initiatives and its continued growth in the community.

For others, the opportunity to donate toward a specific scholarship motivated their involvement in the “Make An Impact” campaign launch. Susan Strickland, who has taught math at the Leonardtown Campus since 2001, chose to donate $1,000 toward the Charles Walsh Memorial Scholarship. Strickland had a long association with Walsh, who had a 50-year teaching career in St. Mary’s County that spanned three to four generations of families. He started at the college as an adjunct professor in 1983 teaching math and chemistry and then became an associate professor in 2003 until his retirement in 2015. He passed away in April 2016.

“It means a lot to me to be able to contribute to a scholarship in Charlie’s name,” Strickland said. “Charlie spent his entire life involved in education, whether as a teacher, an administrator or as a professor at CSM … He would be deeply humbled at having a scholarship in his name, but knowing that the money could benefit a student who might not otherwise be able to enroll at CSM would mean the world to him.”

Walsh’s daughter, Dr. Kathleen Walsh, who helped establish the memorial scholarship to honor her father, said in an email, “It was so touching to see that so many folks donated in such a short time and even several colleagues saw and donated after Giving Tuesday. Since his death, I have heard from countless former students, colleagues, friends, family members and the community about the difference Dad made. We want to continue that legacy.”

Even before Impact Tuesday, through the CSM Foundation’s early efforts and with support from CSM’s closest supporters, more than $7 million toward the $10 million goal have been raised. All funds raised in the ongoing campaign will go toward three initiatives designed to help the college grow and maintain its affordable, high-quality programs for the future. The $10 million campaign will provide funding to: Inspire: Scholarships with a Purpose with a goal of $5 million; Influence: Transformative Programs, Technology and Facilities with a goal of $3 million; and Innovate: CSM Entrepreneur, Innovation and Partnerships with a goal of $2 million. Each dollar contributed during the campaign will be used to assist CSM in its goal to transform the future of Southern Maryland through higher education.

For photos from Giving Tuesday, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/2016givetuesday. To hear more about the “Make An Impact” campaign, visit https://youtu.be/yJ0034okyQ8. To learn about the IMPACT initiatives, naming opportunities and more, visit http://impact.csmd.edu or call the CSM Foundation at 301-934-7649.