Category Archives: Crowdfunding

SIU injects friendly competition into the second SIU Day of Giving

Front row: Dean Andy Wang, College of Applied Sciences and Arts, Chancellor Carlo Montemagno, and Dean Matthew Keefer, College of Education and Human Services
Second row: Matt McCoy, director of constituent relations, and Jim Salmo, CEO and vice chancellor for development and alumni relations for the SIU foundation.

After the success of last year’s inaugural SIU Day of Giving, there was added buzz around this year’s event.

Beyond the excitement of raising much-needed funds and increasing awareness of the university’s philanthropic mission, there were two traveling trophies on the line. One would be awarded to the college/unit that raised the most money, and the other would go to the one that received the most individual donations.

Even before the Day of Giving on March 7, many deans embraced the competition, even participated in good-natured banter. Many colleges set up booths to encourage donations. Word of the competition spread, and some colleges extended their booth hours to increase their chances.

For most of the day, it was unclear who would earn the trophies and the bragging rights that come with them.

In the end, the College of Education and Human Services raised the most money with a whopping $96,996. The College of Applied Sciences and Arts had the most individual donors, totaling 306.

CASA Dean Andy Ju An Wang and COEHS Dean Matthew Keefer accepted the awards from Chancellor Carlo Montemagno on March 26.

 “This day of philanthropy is great for the university. The outcome has made it clear that participation is more important than the amount of dollars raised,” Dean Wong said with a wink.

Keefer was happy his college earned the monetary title, but was quick to point out the value of reaching as many donors as possible.

 “This was a huge morale boost for our staff, and I have to hand it to Dean Wang for the number of gifts he brought in,” he said. “That is really what it is all about is getting first-time donors and students engaged in giving back.”

Montemagno thanked the deans and their staff for their efforts.

“The SIU Day of Giving is a reflection of the community’s commitment to ensure the future of the next generation,” he said. “It’s great to know that we understand the importance of paying it forward and that giving today is giving for tomorrow’s students.”

While the statistics are still being analyzed, Matt McCoy, the SIU Foundation’s director of constituent relations, said he expects that the number of first-time donors and the number of students who gave to far exceed last year’s totals.

SIU raises over $475,000 on Day of Giving

by Rebecca Renshaw

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The second annual Day of Giving for Southern Illinois University Carbondale raised more than $475,000 from more than 1,800 donors, and the donations are still rolling in.

With the theme of “Give the Gift of Experience” as its call to action, the 24-hour fundraising campaign rallied SIU supporters across the country and the globe in support of SIU students and programs.

The SIU Day of Giving website at shows where funds were donated.

Many small donations made a big difference

SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno thanked the many alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff who supported the campaign.

“The 24-hour campaign model provides a mechanism for people to connect with their giving,” Montemagno said. “It provides a framework so that everybody says, ‘My $50 gift or $20 gift is going to make a difference, because we’re all giving together as a community.’”

“These donations not only help the university with key projects, but also reveal the deep affection that many have for SIU Carbondale.”

Looking forward to SIU’s 150th anniversary

Jim Salmo, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations and CEO of the SIU Foundation, said the funds will make an immediate impact on the areas designated by donors. Another goal is to attract first-time donors.

“This event once again exceeded our expectations,” Salmo said, noting that the first Day of Giving raised $341,121. “We are already looking forward to next year as the kick-off to SIU Carbondale’s 150 anniversary celebration.”

Student involvement drove donations

Salmo said students played a pivotal role in the event’s success. Many students connected with the campaign through information booths at Morris Library, the Student Center and many colleges and units.

Trophies headed to CASA and Education and Human Services

Traveling trophies will be presented to the college or unit with the highest number of participants and for the college or unit that raised the most dollars.

“There was a tremendous amount of participation this year over last year and I think it came from a friendly competition among the colleges,” Salmo said. “I’m very pleased to announce that SIU’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts will be awarded the trophy for receiving the highest number of gifts at 306. SIU’s College of Education and Human Services raised the most dollars at $96,996.”

The event would not have been successful without several online ambassadors and on-campus volunteers, including students and alumni who shared fundraising progress and messaging on various social platforms, Salmo said. A video highlighting the many exciting experiences students have on campus had nearly 50,000 views.

2018 SIU Day of Giving Thank You

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Connecting Through Crowdfunding

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences Greenhouse

SIU’s University Farms greenhouse had a problem two summers ago: too many plants and not enough space.

Over the years, a separate teaching greenhouse had fallen into so much disrepair that the department had to consolidate activities in the University Farms greenhouse. The cramped conditions put a crimp in teaching and research efforts, and no funds were available to fix the problem.

Karen Jones, chair of SIU’s Department of Plant, Soil, and Agricultural Systems, determined that if the department could grow plants by vertically laying them above the ground, it could ease space issues. To do this, she realized the plants would require light-emitting diodes, commonly referred to as LED lights.

The next problem Jones faced was how to pay for the lights. Determined to find a solution, she turned to SIU’s network of alumni and students for help.

Jones and her team launched a fundraising project on SIU’s new SalukiFunder, a crowdfunding web platform for campus organizations that is administered by the SIU Foundation, and set a goal of raising $3,000.

They met their goal – and then some. Alumni and other supporters gave $3,105, which helped to buy several new LED lights.

“We were really surprised,” said Matt McCoy, director of constituent relations for the SIU Foundation, who spearheaded this first-ever effort of raising funds through crowdfunding. “I don’t think any of us appreciated how effective fundraising through a crowdfunding platform would be. We definitely were pleasantly surprised to meet and achieve our goal so quickly.”

Since SalukiFunder launched in May 2016, 14 groups have raised more than $42,000. The money has supported a variety of causes, such as the Touch of Nature mountain bike trails, the Strong Survivors program for cancer survivors and caregivers, the National Association of Black Journalists Convention and the SAE International Saluki Baja team.

A growing number of universities have launched crowdfunding platforms similar to SIU’s, which works like this: once an organization’s application to participate has been chosen, the group meets with a mentor from the foundation’s Development and Alumni Relations office to develop project descriptions, social media posts and emails. Campaigns usually run between 30 and 45 days.

Each group posts a description of its project on the SalukiFunder site, along with a video clip or photo. The group then promotes the project through social media and emails to supporters. With just a few clicks, supporters can make their donations directly to the causes they most care about.

McCoy said that a big benefit of crowdfunding is that it gives students, faculty, alumni and the community a way to connect.

“It’s an opportunity for donors to connect with a cause or project they believe in,” he said. “Instead of donating to a general fund, donors can choose a specific project and see exactly where their donations are going.”

Dave Baer, a 1975 SIU graduate, donated through SalukiFunder to the College of Agricultural Science’s LED lighting project. As a loyal Saluki and major contributor, Baer said he makes a point of promoting SalukiFunder when he’s talking with other alumni.

“I’m a big Saluki fan,” he said. “It’s a great way to support students directly, and that is really what so many alumni are trying to do: help the next generation succeed.”

Check out current SalukiFunder projects:

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SIU Crowdfunding: AFS Campus Lake Fish Habitat Improvement Project

SIU-C American Fisheries Society Student Subunit

By Rebecca Renshaw

While the campus lake beautification project will benefit humans, a group of students want to make sure the lake’s aquatic inhabitants will also benefit.  That’s the goal of SIU’s chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

After the lake was dredged to eliminate toxic algae, it left little to no cover for bluegill and crappie spawn. According to recent fish population assessments, campus lake contains a large number of largemouth bass which are preying on baby bluegill and crappie that have no cover or refuge in the shallow lake. The group of students from the American Fisheries Society want to add artificial fish habitat structures in the lake so that the baby fish will have a chance to grow. These structures include PVC pieces that mimic downed trees and vegetation, but will last longer than natural structures that decay.

SIU-C American Fisheries Society Student Subunit

Aaron Schiller, a graduate student in the SIU College of Science, says they need about 20 structures, which costs $2,000.  Local businesses have donated pvc to build two structures, but the group needs more pvc materials.  “We are really hoping our Salukifunder project will help us raise the rest of the funds we need to complete this project. This is a project that will have lasting benefits on the fish population and on campus lake itself,” said Schiller.

SIU-C American Fisheries Society Student Subunit

The project is also part of a larger habitat improvement project the group is organizing for the lake. The group currently submitted an application to the Green Fund to plant vegetation in the lake, which will help the fish community and serve to beautify the lake at the same time.

If you would like to learn more and help these students realize their goal, please donate by visiting  The deadline for raising funds for this project is April 21, 2017.

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Lighting the Way: Crowdfunding makes LED project possible

Sharon Youck - SIU College of Agricultural Sciences student

By Rebecca Renshaw

We often share stories of donors giving to the university, or of gifts received for specific initiatives, but rarely do we hear stories of the impact those gifts make upon students.

This is one of those rare times.

With the first successful SIU crowdfunding venture for the College of Agricultural Sciences LED lights, the 32 donors who generously gave between $10 and $450 (with a total amount of just over $3,000) can now hear “the rest of the story” – and discover how their donations improved students’ learning environments.

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences LED Room

On March 31, 2017, the College of Agricultural Sciences held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its LED light green space. Sharon Youck, a senior who will graduate with a plant and soil sciences degree in May, beamed with excitement as she explained her independent study.

“These lights make a world of difference in my plant and soil sciences independent study,” she said. “In two weeks I can already see the positive effects the LED lights are having on these plants.”

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences LED Room

Youck also explained one of the many reasons why these LED lights are so important not only to her, but to other students as well.

“One of the required courses in greenhouse management requires students to memorize between 150 and 200 types of perennial plants,” she said. “With existing greenhouses in disrepair, students had to travel to the University Farms greenhouse, located on the edge of campus, to visit the perennial plants located there. With limited time and limited access to vehicles, this made it difficult for students to study for their required classes.

“Now they can stop in room 169 in the College of Agriculture Services building and learn about the variety of perennials on display. It makes such a huge difference.”

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences LED Room

Youck plans to work after graduation with C.H. Robinson Worldwide as a carrier representative. She hopes to someday work for a fresh produce company, helping to increase yields, map forecasts, and eliminate pests and diseases.

When asked what she has found most surprising in her studies, she said she did not realize how many variables – and how many people – it takes to get an apple on the shelf at the grocery store.

“I have a greater appreciation for the farmers and the food producers who work to get food products to the public,” she said. “SIU has taught me all of that.”

If you would like to fund your passion at SIU, please visit to see the many new projects that need your help.

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Inaugural Day of Giving exceeds expectations

SIU Day of Giving totals $341,121

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Thanks to hundreds of donors, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s inaugural Day of Giving was a resounding success.

During the unique 24-hour fundraising campaign, which took place March 1-2, donors were invited to directly support an area on campus meaningful to them. The campaign has raised $341,121– shattering the initial goal of $150,000. The SIU Day of Giving website, showing present totals and where funds were donated to, is at

“The Day of Giving was a success due to the hundreds of alumni, students, faculty, staff and supporters who realize the importance of philanthropy to the university’s success,” Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell said. “These donations not only help the university with key projects, but reveal the deep affection that many have for SIU Carbondale.”

Jim Salmo, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations and CEO of the SIU Foundation, said the funds donated will make an immediate impact on the areas designated by donors. Another purpose of the campaign was to also attract new donors, he said.

“This event exceeded our expectations and is a great beginning,” Salmo said. “We look forward to this being an annual event that continues to grow.”

Rebecca Renshaw, who oversees communications for the SIU Foundation, said students played a pivotal role in the event’s success. Information booths were set up at Morris Library, the Student Center and in the Faner Hall breezeway. A video highlighting campus lake produced for the Day of Giving had nearly 100,000 views, she said.

Renshaw said that a student who was listening to a presentation at Morris Library told her, “I just want to give back to SIU.” The history major, who didn’t give his name, then opened his wallet and donated the only bill he had — $20 – and walked away.

“It was really moving,” Renshaw said.

The event would not have been successful without more than 70 ambassadors, including about 40 students who shared fundraising progress and messaging on various social platforms. Students who called alumni raised more than $6,000 over the 24-hour period, she said.

Of the 1,334 gifts, the largest total amount from multiple donors, $106,105, was raised for campus lake. The participating group with the greatest number of donors was the SIU School of Law.

The Day of Giving “really made a positive impact on the entire campus for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community,” Renshaw said. “It’s rare you can get everyone collectively supporting one effort.”

SIU Crowdfunding: Model United Nations Spring Conference

SIU model united nations

The SIU affiliate of the American Model United Nations, Inc. (AMUN) is raising funds for the annual spring conference to compete against other universities. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is collaborating with a team of 11 students to raise money and compete in the Midwest Model United Nations conference during February 22-25.

These students prepare for conference by researching their designated country. This spring they will be representing Greece. In the past, they have represented Qatar, Finland, Lithuania, Egypt, Iran, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Poland, Vietnam and Algeria. This chapter strives to educated and inform students on the current goals and missions of the United Nations in regards to international security, human rights, nation building, peacekeeping, and all things related to promoting human dignity for all peoples in all places. .

All funds raised through their crowdfunding campaign will help pay for the cost of travel, lodging, and conference fees.

The Model United Nations chapter at SIU aims at developing current students interested in the field of international relations into future global leaders

Support the SIU American Model United Nations Chapter by making a gift on the SalukiFunder crowdfunding page.

SIU Crowdfunding: Saluki Food Pantry

SIU Saluki Food Pantry

SIU is working to change statistics where 31% of students on campus need food assistance. The Saluki Food Pantry is located on the lower level of the Student Center. The mission is to serve food students who lack resources to purchase nutritious food. This provides an opportunity for SIU students to serve other students and engage in a conversations and solutions around food insecurity. SIU believes no student should have to choose between essentials such as food and the costs of college while trying to obtain a university degree.

Support the Saluki Food Pantry by bringing in donations or making a gift on the Saluki Food Pantry crowdfunding page.

SIU Crowdfunding: Strong Survivors

Strong Survivors is currently seeking donations through SIU Foundation’s crowdfunding platform. A donation to Strong Survivors SalukiFunder will help this program raise funds for new treadmills. This will benefit participants as well as the SIU student staff members using the SIUC Cancer Rehab Lab. The cancer survivors and caregivers will have the opportunity to exercise on a safe, comfortable and state of the art treadmill. The student staff members will be able to better assess and evaluate the exercise programs and the participants’ cardiovascular capacity.

Strong Survivors Exercise and Nutrition Program for Cancer Survivors and Caregivers utilizes exercise as a therapeutic tool to help cancer survivors and caregivers get through the treatment and recovery process. Co-sponsored by the SIU Department of Kinesiology and the Southern Illinois Healthcare Cancer Institute, this free program is created and administered by SIU student staff members who have completed the Strong Survivors Staff Training Class.

You may make a gift in honor or in memory of a loved one. To make a donation, visit Strong Survivors SalukiFunder.


AG Greenhouse Watering

Karen Jones, chair of SIU’s Department of Plant, Soil, and Agricultural Systems, knew she needed to get creative to solve the very real space issues at the University Farms greenhouse. Over the years, a separate teaching greenhouse had fallen into so much disrepair that the department had to consolidate activities in the University Farms greenhouse. This move led to extremely cramped conditions, which negatively affected teaching and research.

With no funds on the horizon, Jones realized she had to think outside the box. If the department could start to grow plants by vertically layering them above the ground, it could significantly alleviate the space issues. Because the greenhouse’s footprint can only house so many plants on a horizontal plane, she recognized that using this added dimension could be the solution. To do this, she and Joe Matthews, assistant scientist in the department, concluded that growing plants in this fashion would require light emitting diodes, commonly referred to as LED lights.

“We need to enhance our research and fulfill our teaching mission, and we need to do so with creative resources,” Jones says. “We believe these lights are the resource we need.”

What are LED Lights?

LED lights are engineered specifically to emit photosynthetic active radiation. Scientists are using LEDs, rather than traditional high-intensity discharge lights, to expose plants to specific wavelengths that enhance nutritional values of edible crops, influence the concentration of color and foliage, and improve endurance. Such lights also would save up to 50 percent in energy costs.

Matthews says the University Farms greenhouse was remodeled in 2006 with traditional lights that typically have a lifespan of five years. Those lights are now going into their 10th year of use, so the need for new lights – as well as a way to grow vertically – is considerably real.

That’s where thinking outside the box entered the picture. Jones and Rhiannon Storm, development officer for the College of Agricultural Sciences, began to brainstorm on how to raise the money for the lights. Storm knew that Matt McCoy, assistant director of annual giving for the SIU Foundation, was spearheading a first-ever effort of raising funds through “crowdfunding,” so when she approached him with the LED fundraising project, they realized it would be a perfect fit for the foundation’s first crowdfunding venture.

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a platform for student groups, researchers, teams and others to raise funds for SIU initiatives. Students, alumni and community members can make relatively small online gifts to support projects of interest that are important but may not be at the level requiring larger, major gifts.

Donations to crowdfunded projects, such as the LED lighting initiative for the University Farms greenhouse, will be deposited in the appropriate department’s foundation account. The goal is $3,000, but Jones and Matthews say more funds raised will equal more lights that can be bought. LED lights are not inexpensive; costs can range from hundreds of dollars to well over $1,000 for just one light.

“We have so many needs in the College of Agricultural Sciences,” Jones adds. “And we could use a win for our faculty and students. Our hope is that everyone will rally behind this effort.”

This first step into the crowdfunding arena began May 1 with the LED initiative, as well as with another project that seeks $7,500 to buy precision agriculture GPS and software to enhance the teaching of students, research and sustainability goals. To view what has been raised thus far, visit To learn more, contact McCoy at the SIU Foundation. He can be reached at 618/453-6096 or by email at