Small Gift, Big Impact

Small Gift, Big Impact

At one time or another, all of us need a little help. And if we’re lucky, a friend is there for us.

That was certainly the case for Sylvia Tony (Knoxville ’05) when she was struggling through nursing school, working three jobs while taking tough classes and also doing clinical work. A little help from College of Nursing donors allowed Tony to quit two of those jobs and refocus on her education. Now the Congo native is a registered nurse at UT Medical Center in Knoxville and has made her first donation to the college.

“The assistance was a miracle from heaven,” Tony recalls. “It allowed me to fulfill a dream; it really made it possible to become a nurse. I would not have been able to graduate without the assistance.”

Small gifts to the nursing college fund and similar funds in all the UT Knoxville colleges can have a huge impact, says Joan Creasia, dean of the College of Nursing.

“When donors give directly to our college fund, we can use those funds immediately to address needs of our students and faculty,” she says. Because available state funding is on the decline, the College Funds are essential to funding technology upgrades, student scholarships and enrichment activities, and helping retain top faculty members.

Every college at UT Knoxville has a college fund, as does University Libraries. Donors can designate gifts of any amount up to $10,000 to the college fund of their choice, confident that the money is being put to good use right away in the area of their greatest interest.

Student Lauren McCarty got help from the college fund in the College of Architecture and Design. McCarty is co-captain and co-founder of the Freedom by Design chapter at UT Knoxville, an organization that helps make handicapped people’s homes more accessible when they can’t afford to do so themselves. Gifts from donors to the college fund allowed her to attend a conference where she learned more about how to help.

In expressing her gratitude, McCarty says donors’ generosity goes beyond just helping the college. “This will enable us to grow as an organization to better help the people in need.”

Dhyana Ziegler, a former faculty member and financial supporter of the College of Communication and Information (CCI), says giving to your college is “the right thing to do.”

“Producing future leaders and a skilled workforce to feed the needs of this information age is challenging. Higher education budgets are shrinking. So CCI needs financial support, human capital, and collective consciousness to help chart its course.”

College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences alumna Ann Skadberg (Knoxville ’62) is passionate about her college.

“I love the purpose that drives the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences: ‘to improve the quality of life in Tennessee and beyond.’ In all that we do, our college prepares students for a position in society that will make a lasting impact.

“A generous donor issued our college a matching $1-million challenge in Mr. Clayton Arnold’s memory, which will benefit the teacher internship program,” Skadberg says. Gifts of any size to the college fund will help meet the challenge. Skadberg says she and her husband, Dean, “feel privileged to donate toward meeting that challenge, and we hope many people will join us!”