Sun Devil community celebrates donors' generosity

ASU Foundation hosts annual Sun Devil Gratitude Week to recognize donors

Two students hold a thank you sign and display a forks up hand gesture

Beginning Nov. 14, the Sun Devil community will celebrate the many donors who gave their time, talent and treasure to support Arizona State University. 

Each year, the ASU Foundation holds Sun Devil Gratitude Week as a way for students, faculty and staff to convey their gratitude toward donors and their generosity, which has helped turn ASU into what it is today. This event started as a single-day event on National Philanthropy Day five years ago.

Will Leon, associate director of donor relations at the ASU Foundation, said it’s important to thank donors for their contributions.  

“To me, we have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of donors to thank,” he said.

It’s estimated that the ASU Foundation will connect with approximately 40,000 donors during the week through a combination of phone calls, emails, text messages, postcards, social media posts and digital video cards.

Leon coordinates the Sun Devil Gratitude effort and said the Foundation team spends a lot of time preparing messages for donors that are delivered based on the donors’ preferred communications methods. All ASU students and faculty are encouraged to celebrate donors, especially those who have benefited from their generosity. 

Francoise Mirguet, associate professor of ancient Hebrew and the history of emotions in the School of International Letters and Cultures, shared about the difference philanthropy can make in the lives of students. For her, it goes beyond a monetary impact. 

"In a way, donors can also be role models for students — and all of us, really — as people who are giving back to the community, truly building community," she said. 

Bryson Jones is a junior studying public service and public policy at ASU who received donor-funded scholarships. He is a recipient of the Charles and Christine Michaels Scholarship and the Pioneer Heritage Scholarship. 

“I don’t have to worry about paying for my education, and because I don’t have that worry on my shoulders, I can completely focus on my education as a whole,” Jones said, adding that the scholarships have allowed him the opportunity to become the best student possible.

The generosity Jones has received goes beyond financial support. He feels that, through his scholarships, he has been given the opportunity to have a relationship with the donors, granting him a support system through his experience at ASU.

“I hope to use this opportunity to focus on paying it forward by showing the donors they have invested in the right student,” he said.

Written by Richard Canas

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