Donor support helps Bryant finish strong

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In a uniquely challenging year, the Bryant community came together as one, united in resilience and generosity as donors supported Bryant in record breaking ways. Nearly 6,100 alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends contributed more than $7,150,000 during the fiscal year, including a record 475 donors who gave at the Bryant Leadership Council ($1,000+) level. These gifts enabled Bryant to move forward, helping to minimize program disruption, maintaining health and safety, retaining academic excellence and ensuring that the Bryant student experience remained vibrant and accessible.

And, in a year like no other, October 28, 2020 was a day like no other. Bryant Giving Day brought the Bryant community together in pride, spirit and philanthropy as never before. In 24 hours, the event raised a record 1,058,977 from a record 2,303 donors — an increase of 850 donors from the previous year. Challenge gifts from generous Bryant Game Changers — Board of Trustees Chairman David ’85 & Terry Beirne, Michael ’67 & Karen Fisher, Bryant Trustee Joe ’80 and Kathi (Jurewicz) Puishys ’81, and several anonymous donors — helped create excitement and inspired unprecedented participation. “One million dollars is a stunning accomplishment,” said David Wegrzyn ’86, P’23, Vice President for University Advancement “It was humbling to see the power of our community on Bryant Giving Day.”

We are grateful to the thousands of donors from throughout the Bryant global community who stepped up this year—with enthusiasm, empathy, and generosity—sustaining and strengthening Bryant with the power of philanthropy.

Support for the Be Bryant Strong campaign was a critical part of this success throughout the year, with contributions providing vital resources
during the rapid shift to remote and hybrid learning and then during the carefully coordinated campus reopening in January 2021. Thanks, in part, to more than 1,536 gifts totaling over $615,000, Bryant was able to make critical investments in rapid, on-site COVID-19 testing, remote learning technology, campus-wide health and safety, and additional tuition aid for students.

These investments made Bryant one of the few higher education institutions in the region to offer continuity for in-person learning while providing a campus experience with robust and varied co-curricular activities. Underwritten by their generous gift, the opening of the Marion ’81 and Frank Hauck ’81, P’08 Ice Rink
in early 2021 was one of several enhancements to outdoor and distanced recreational programming that helped keep students healthy and united the campus community.

Bryant pride was on display at the We Are Bryant Virtual Race, a new event begun in 2020 and one of the ways the Bryant community quickly mobilized in flexible and creative ways to ensure a top-tier educational experience for Bryant students. The event rallied support for the Bryant COVID-19 Fund, which received gifts from more than 600 donors totaling nearly $460,000, providing flexibility for allocating additional tuition aid and enabling Bryant to offer scholarships to students facing unexpected pandemic-related financial hardships.

“Contributions to the COVID-19 Fund helped provide struggling students with the opportunity to enroll at or continue their education at Bryant,” said Ed Magro, Executive Director of Development at Bryant. “These gifts changed lives.” Last month marked the return of the President’s Cup Golf Tournament, with renewed support anchored by a $25,000 gift from Trustee Daniel ’03 and Tanya Rice, matching all in-event contributions and winning auction bids. This year’s sold-out event at Newport Country Club welcomed additional participants through a new Virtual Golf Clinic, expanding the participation of the tournament now in its 17th year. Thanks to support from presenting sponsor Amica Insurance, successful live and silent auctions, and more than 130 participants, the tournament raised more than $265,000 for the President’s Scholarship Fund, expanding access to Bryant through tuition aid for top-performing students.

Strengthened by a second $25,000 donor participation gift challenge from Daniel ’03 and Tanya Rice the coordinated outreach the total number of donors to the goal of 6,100, with many alumni inspired to make their first gift to Bryant. In coordination with President Gittell’s first Presidential appeal in May, Bryant Trustee Joe Puishys ’80 and Kathi (Jurewicz) Puishys ’81 made a generous $50,000 gift to match fiscal-year-end contributions from other Bryant donors, dollar for dollar. Along with critical unrestricted dollars, these gifts increased overall donor giving participation.

Nora Marzocchi, Director of the Bryant Fund, believes the significant increase in parents giving, in particular, was a reflection of overall satisfaction with Bryant’s institution-wide efforts to ensure that students could return to the classroom despite the challenges of reopening the campus. “Families were grateful to know their students could safely learn and be part of all Bryant has to offer,” she said. “We all worked together to ensure that students could make the most of their Bryant experience.”

Support from corporate partners and foundations continued to increase, highlighted by a $1.26 million gift from the Hassenfeld Family Foundation to continue Bryant’s Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership, and a $200,000 gift from the Roddy Foundation to launch the new Center For Health and Behavioral Science. In a year when many events were cancelled or held virtually, vital support from loyal corporate sponsors exceeded the annual goal, totaling more than $700,000.

Several other leadership gifts allowed Bryant to devote resources to essential programs and services, including a generous gift from Bonnie and Richard Leto ’73 to expand Bryant Counseling Services to meet an increased need from students while supporting their overall well-being and academic success. A gift of $60,000 was received in memory of Bryant alumnus David Gold ’71 to create an endowed fund to support Bryant’s growing Hillel program. Through a crowdfunding effort, $55,000 was raised to create an endowed fund that will fund programming at the Intercultural Center, strengthening efforts to promote and ensure diversity, equity and inclusion at Bryant.

Despite an interrupted fall season and many stops and starts to varsity schedules, Bryant Athletics received the loyal support of a record 1,547 donors who donated a record $904,060 in support of the Black & Gold. Earlier this year, Bryant received its first-ever planned gift to support Athletics from longtime volleyball coach Theresa Garlacy in recognition the Bryant community that welcomed her 27 years ago and has been such an important part of her life ever since. “Bryant has given me so much joy,” she said. “I’m giving back to a truly special community.”

We are grateful to the thousands of donors from throughout the Bryant global community who stepped up this year — with enthusiasm, empathy, and generosity — sustaining and strengthening Bryant with the power of philanthropy.

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