SLU Community Gives More Than $176,000 on Giving Tuesday
As COVID-19 changed the way Billikens learn and work together earlier this spring, the Saint Louis University community quickly looked for new ways to contribute to the greater good, including establishing an ongoing giving initiative specifically aimed at COVID-19 relief efforts.
As part of the effort, on Giving Tuesday 2020, May 5, 532 donors contributed $176,386.
Created to support the University’s vaccine research, outreach efforts, and families and students in financial need during the pandemic, the giving effort is made up of several funds that have become more essential than ever due to the crisis.
The initiative has received support from around the world, with several significant gifts illustrating the teamwork and generosity of SLU’s alumni.
Taiwan Alumni Club president Larry Chang (Grad PH ’89, ’00), for example, brought the club’s members together after hearing about the pandemic’s impact on SLU.
“In early March, I started to contact my board members and get their agreement to spread this information to all Taiwan alumni by social media and to start raising money to show our care and love for SLU,” Chang said. The group raised $6,200 for the Vaccine Research Fund.
Former SLU MBA student Wu-Tung Chen stepped in to donate $20,000 to the Student Emergency Relief Fund.
“Since I grew up in a poor family, I did really struggle and overcome many difficulties to complete my education,” Chen said. “Without many caring persons’ financial assistance and school scholarships, I could not have made it through and become a successful entrepreneur.”
The Taiwan Alumni Club’s members are not alone in their passion for giving back to their alma mater and the people it serves. Dave Barbeau (CSB ’68, Grad CSB ’72), Tim (A&S ’80, Law ’83) and Margaret (A&S ’81) Barrett, Paul Boughton, Ph.D. (Grad CSB ’73, ’80) and Jerry Sax (CSB ’83) all made significant gifts as well.
Their generosity benefits a variety of the giving initiative’s funds, from the Vaccine Research Fund to “Billikens for All,” a newly established fund designed to continue and expand SLU’s outreach programs in the face of COVID-19.
All donors saw SLU’s important roles in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“We know SLU has been a valuable member of the St. Louis community, in general, and the Midtown neighborhood, in particular,” Tim Barrett said of the gift he and his wife gave to Billikens for All. “We realize some of our neighbors are having a difficult time right now and wanted to be part of the effort to lend some help.”
"SLU is a leading institution in developing a response to COVID-19,” Boughton said. “I'm giving to vaccine research because it is imperative to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible. We will never get back to ‘normal’ until this happens.”
Sheila Manion, vice president of development, said the response is an ideal example of the care and resilience that makes up the SLU community.
“We are so grateful for the generosity displayed by our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends,” Manion said. “Their selflessness and unity in spite of adversity embodies what it means to be OneSLU.”
The initiative is ongoing.