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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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UMW Founders Day challenge exceeds expectations

UMW Founders Day challenge exceeds expectations


The University of Mary Washington celebrated its 107th anniversary with the implementation of a Founder’s Day Challenge to raise funds and commemorate the opening of the school. The challenge recently ended, bringing in $20,000 more than the intended fundraising goal.

The original goal was to raise at least $107,000 for the Fund for Mary Washington, which is used to help support activities at UMW, along with other needs that are not covered by tuition. The funds were collected through contacting alumni, parents and friends through social media, as well as the Phonathon program.

At the end of the six-week challenge, UMW raised over $127,300, far exceeding the challenge’s goal. The excess money will be allocated for multiple uses, including the 50 million Mary Washington First Campaign.

This campaign encompasses seven different priorities, including support for the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and the College of Business, a larger amount of scholarships, special support for program initiatives, continued support for the Fund for Mary Washington and funds to help restore the university’s amphitheater.

Vice President of Advancement and University Relations Salvatore Meringolo was highly involved with the Founder’s Day challenge.

“This Challenge helped to educate and remind the Mary Washington community about that important date while inspiring a sense of pride,” said Meringolo. “That pride is the second element that helped the challenge succeed. Alumni, parents, and friends are proud of this institution, and they do want to see it succeed and excel.”

In addition to raising funds for the various colleges, the challenge also helped the school come closer to raising the $3 million needed to help fix the amphitheatre, which many alumni are very passionate about saving.

According to Meringolo, some of the money from the challenge went toward the already growing fund for the amphitheatre. With the recent addition of a $1.25 million donation by a Richmond couple, the amphitheatre fund has grown to $2.5 million, just shy of the final $3 million goal.

“Mary Washington alumni are very dedicated to their alma mater,” says Meringolo, “When I travel and meet alumni all across the country, I enjoy hearing stories of how certain professors, or programs, or fellow classmates made a huge difference in people’s lives.”