Columbia's National Alumni Board Rallies Around #GivingTuesday Campaign

The Columbia Alumni and Association Network National Board, top row from left to right: John Davies '88, Braydan Hogue '16, Jeff Kinney '87; middle row: Brittany Steiger '10, Jennifer Oliver O'Connell '87, Karen Lee Coen '68, Hilary Rainey '09, Michael Wojcik '96; front row: Rebecca Ortiz '01, Dennis Carlson '97, Marty Kane '06, April Castro '96. Not pictured: Shani Black and Cayla Weisberg '09.

This past September, the Columbia College Chicago National Alumni Association and Network (CAAN) gathered for its annual strategic planning retreat at the home of President Kwang-Wu Kim for an update on the college and its current challenges. CAAN Board President Michael Wojcik ‘96 posed a question to Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Shawn Wax: “How can we help?”

Wax’s response was simple. “Give and get,” he said. “Increase your giving and help us recruit more alumni to do the same.”

The board committed to leading by example, specifically by utilizing the philanthropic holiday of #GivingTuesday as a platform to inspire action for Columbia’s vast alumni network to better support their alma mater.

As of this morning, the board has tripled their personal giving to Columbia. Now, they are encouraging others to join in #GivingTuesday.

“I’m grateful to my fellow board members for stepping up and demonstrating leadership,” says Wojcik. “We hope others are as inspired as we are to give. There were alumni supporting Columbia when we were students, and now we need to pay it forward.”

The board also committed to creating a mentoring program that pairs alumni with current students, and are recruiting alumni ambassadors for the program. Additionally, the board is seeking alumni volunteers to help with new student recruitment, including meeting with prospective students, writing recruitment letters and emails, and sharing their stories on social media and the college’s website.

“What an exciting day for Columbia,” says Wax. “Today we are witnessing an inspiring grassroots movement! I applaud the national alumni board for taking such a bold step and I invite the Columbia community to join them.”