Faculty and staff invited to give to ​Our Washington campaign

​So far, 5,000 employees have contributed; gifts benefit scholarships and research

Sharon Britt, administrative coordinator, shares why she gives to the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship.

Washington University in St. Louis employees are asked to join Our Washington, the faculty and staff component of Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University.

Since the quiet phase of the campaign began in 2009, some 39 percent of Washington University’s faculty and staff — nearly 5,000 employees so far — have contributed $33.4 million to the campaign. That money helps to fund scholarships, supports academic and scientific initiatives, advances learning and enhances facilities.

It also strengthens the local community, said donor Sharon Britt, an administrative coordinator. Britt donates to the James E. McLeod Scholars Fund and the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship, a unique program that serves transfer students from St. Louis Community College.

“So many of our Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholars stay in St. Louis and make a difference here,” said Britt, who joined the staff 18 years ago. “They are not your typical students — many are older, some have children to care for. But they have this passion for learning and a commitment to their families and their hometown. To learn their stories and see them succeed right here has been so rewarding.”

Publicly announced in October, 2012, Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University has raised more than $1.8 billion to date. The goal is to raise a minimum of $2.2 billion by June 30, 2018, including $400 million for scholarships.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said a central goal of the campaign is to make a Washington University education affordable for all qualified students. Earlier this year, Wrighton announced the university’s commitment to increase the number of freshmen from low income families to 13 percent by 2020.

“Scholarships have made a Washington University education possible for many people over many years,” Wrighton said, “and our commitment to enhancing this level of scholarship support begins with the generosity of donors who believe in the power of education to change lives. I am thankful to the many faculty and staff members who have supported our efforts to make Washington University more affordable and accessible.”

Employees are asked to make a new gift or renew an existing one at a level that feels comfortable to them. Wrighton says each gift demonstrates to prospective students and potential donors that the Washington University community is united in its commitment to excellence.

“The generosity of Washington University faculty and staff members is an inspiration and affirmation to others who have chosen to make a significant investment in our efforts,” Wrighton said. “Our alumni and parents, as well as corporations, foundations and other individuals, have increased confidence in their gift because they know that so many of our own community members also give generously.”

Employees may donate to the school, scholarship, program or fund of their choice​ through a monthly payroll deduction, online or by mail. Bequests and planned gifts also count toward Our Washington. Donors at every level who make a gift by June 30, 2015, will receive a Washington University umbrella.