The season of gratitude is upon us, and the Student Philanthropy Committee (SPC) is ready.

SPC is a student-run organization at both the Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses. It offers opportunities throughout the year for students to give back to the larger Fordham community through their time, energy, and donations.

“[It’s] a group of dedicated students working to create awareness and educate their peers about the importance of giving back to Fordham and its community,” said Kathryn Mandalakis, FCRH ’19, former senior class gift chair and current Fordham Fund Officer. “Our mission is more than just fundraising—it’s more about creating buzz and passion about giving back.”

Students signing thank-you cards to donors.
Students writing thank-you notes to donors during the Thank-a-Thon. Photo by Seth Newman

The committee kicked off giving season on Sept. 24 with its annual Thank-A-Thon, a four-day tabling effort that encourages students to write thank-you notes to Fordham Fund donors. 

“One of the tenets we stress in our meetings is that it’s important to say thanks!” said Mandalakis. “It’s also just a great way for students to interact with our staff members and the Fordham community at large. We always ask students to write a thank-you note so they can more passionately support the cause.”

With the guidance of Fordham’s Office of Stewardship/Donor Relations, these Thank-A-Thon notes are sent to donors who support student scholarships, clubs and organizations, campus renovations, and other initiatives. 

The Student Philanthropy Committee not only provides opportunities to thank existing donors but also offers students the chance to become a part of the larger community of donors themselves by making gifts to the causes that have been most important to their student experience. 

“Being a part of the Student Philanthropy Committee allows me to talk to my peers about how impactful gifts of any size can be, and how impactful your time, energy, and focus can be in improving other people’s lives,” said John Morin, FCRH ’20, the Fordham College at Rose Hill senior class gift chair. 

A few of the opportunities available for students to learn more about giving back and the benefits of becoming a part of the donor community are the Senior Class Gift Kick-Off taking place in November, followed by Giving Tuesday on Dec. 3, and Fordham Giving Day from March 3 to 4. 

Two students waving pompoms
John Morin, FCRH ’20, and Kaitlyn McDermott, FCRH ’21

“Supporting the senior class gift is a great way to give back to Fordham before becoming an alum. It acts as a vote of confidence in a senior’s four years at Fordham and allows him or her to support the areas that have been most important throughout,” Mandalakis explained. “[It] also introduces students to the world of giving at Fordham in an approachable way while they’re still together with their classmates.”

Current seniors are encouraged to give $20.20 to represent their graduating year. However, seniors who give $50 or more over the course of the year are able to receive the benefits of Young Alumni President’s Club (YAPC), a giving society reserved for current seniors and alumni within 10 years of graduation. (YAPC alumni who have graduated within 1 to 5 years make annual gifts of $250, and for those who have graduated within 6 to 10 years, gifts of $500.)

Much like the President’s Club alumni, who have graduated within 11 or more years and have donated annual gifts of $1,000 or more, YAPC members are invited to exclusive donor receptions and celebrations hosted by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. This year’s YAPC members can look forward to an invitation to the President’s Club Christmas Party, where they will be able to meet longtime President’s Club members. They will also be offered the opportunity to attend a YAPC reception in April and a cocktail reception during Jubilee weekend in June, and they’ll receive recognition in the University’s annual honor roll of donors. 

“I love Fordham and what Fordham stands for, and I wanted to give back to this great institution,” said committee member Kaitlyn McDermott, FCRH ’21. “Joining SPC allowed me to find an outlet for philanthropic duties while learning valuable skills about being a woman for other people.”

–Chloe Meyer