Scripps’ Day of Giving Gives Insight Into Student-Centered Initiatives


Belén Yudess ’25

Copy Editor Intern

Students received an email on March 20 from Scripps Associated Students (SAS) President Lily Dunkin ’24 promoting Scripps Day of Giving. Day of Giving is a 24-hour donation period which gives students, parents, alumni, and benefactors an opportunity to financially contribute to a specific area of support. 

This year’s entries included: Scholarship Aid, the Jesse R. Swan Jr. Scholarship Fund, The Scripps Fund/Parent Fund, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery: Mary Davis MacNaughton Endowment, Internships, Heath Stokes Campbell ’63 Memorial Endowed Scholarship, Campus Enhancement and Preservation, Denison Library, Dance, Other, Academic Programs, Mental Health Support Fund, Racial Justice and Equity General Fund, Career Planning and Resources, CMS Athletics, Garrison Theatre, and the Scripps Access Initiative. 

This was the first year SAS was invited by the Department of Philanthropy to directly participate in Day of Giving. This gave the organization the ability to support initiatives that have the power to directly support student accessibility and success, such as the Student Access Initiative.

“Scripps Access Initiative is awesome and totally aligns with the SAS priorities for this year,” said Dunkin. “[SAS aims to support] first-gen, low-income, and undocumented and mixed-status students. Due to post affirmative action decisions coming out of the Supreme Court, and a rise in xenophobic action and rhetoric towards immigrant and undocumented communities, we found that it was really important for students that identified within those groups to have networks of support at Scripps and be supported not just in their application process, but also making sure that they had resources once they came here.”

Dunkin expanded on how the purpose of this specific initiative and the types of funding allotted during this year’s Day of Giving would aid in SAS’ aforementioned goal. “The Scripps Access Initiative is raising money to increase scholarships for Pell eligible, POC, and undocumented students,” she said. “There was a four-to-one match program, which means that for every $1 spent, $4 are donated. We had a few students give, and I think it’s going to start a really interesting collaboration between Scripps, philanthropy, and the student body.”

The Scripps Access Initiative was the top-funded program during Day of Giving, receiving 93 donations that accumulated to $55,893. Other popular funds included scholarships and donations to the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery and Denison Library. Dunkin attributes these results to a new aspect of this year’s Day of Giving: departmental campaigns.   

“Scripps reached out to specific departments including Denison Library, the Gallery, CP&R, Garrison, and then we were their department for students; and they gave them each the opportunity to raise money for specific needs that they had,” she said. “What the philanthropy department tries to do is raise a certain amount of unrestricted operating funds and what’s really cool is that they met those funds earlier this semester; so what they were able to do with Day of Giving is instead of just focusing on unrestricted operating funds, they could actually raise money for endowed funds.”

Dunkin then explained the importance of building endowed funds due to the direct purpose it grants initiatives. “The Scripps Access Initiative can only be used for POC, Pell-eligible, and undocumented students,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve ever gotten involved and we wanted to be really specific about which endowed fund we were supporting.”

Dunkin was grateful for SAS’ ability to participate in Day of Giving, and shared her perspective on SAS’ role in their working relationship with the Scripps Philanthropy Department in connection with SAS’ mission to support mutual aid.  

“SAS has historically and remains to be really focused on the idea of mutual aid, since we get our funds from the student fund and then try to support the community in that way,” said Dunkin. “But we also recognize and align ourselves with the existing mutual aid organizations on campus, so what we wanted to make sure we were doing with our partnership with Scripps Philanthropy was offering an additional way that students could invest in our own community.”

Overall, the Philanthropy Department exceeded their goal for the Day and met 104% of their goal. Although they were met with an overwhelming amount of success, the Philanthropy Department critiqued SAS’ performance in contributing to this result. 

“It was actually very upsetting, but I went to this meeting that I thought was going to be a recap, and I was really excited that I had been invited as the only student in the room,” said Dunkin. “The meeting turned into what SAS should have done to increase student philanthropy, and I don’t know many 21-year-olds who see themselves as philanthropists.”

Dunkin was surprised by the Department’s reaction and expanded on how the Department could rectify their concerns regarding student donations. “I was just caught off guard because [fundraising for their department] is not my responsibility or job,” she said. “I made it very clear at the meeting too. So when they asked what SAS should have done more of and in what ways, I said, ‘What are you going to do next semester?’ They were asking us how we were going to get more students to contribute, and I think that’s really a challenge for the Department of Philanthropy to figure out.”

Dunkin elaborated on how she believes SAS can support the Department of Philanthropy while remaining true to the organization’s purpose. “They were looking for SAS to implement changes, and I think SAS affirmed that we are not the operating body of Scripps Philanthropy,” she said. “If they want to increase funding by students, they need to host events and have student campaigns. When there are initiatives like the Scripps Access Initiative that we see a particular student interest in, then we won’t hesitate in supporting that interest. But we’re representatives of the student body, not of Scripps College. Tuition has gone up every single year I’ve been at Scripps College, and to be honest, I think that my return on investment remains to be seen.”

Following this meeting, Dunkin proposed feasible and transparent solutions for the Department, including bringing in vendors where a part of the profit goes towards an initiative and maintaining open and honest communication with the student body about where their donations are going. 

As SAS continues to build their connection with the Department of Philanthropy, Dunkin acknowledges the vitality of this collaboration and the positive impact it can have for students. 

“I think that it is so important for SAS and students to be involved in every facet of the Scripps experience because at the end of the day, Scripps is a college that is here to educate and support students; so the more students that can be involved on every level in every room where decisions happen, the better,” said Dunkin. “And I was so happy to have been included, especially in philanthropy, just because I think that there’s a lot of different initiatives that Scripps as an institution has going forward that students have interest in that affect students. The relationship that SAS will have with this department will continue to be on a case by case and initiative basis. If the interests of Scripps and the student body align, SAS will always be there to support that interest and unequivocally represent the student voice.”

To learn more about Day of Giving and the different types of funds, check out their website

Photo Courtesy of Ella Lehavi ’24

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