SRU Foundation introduces “crowdfunding” campaigns

Raise the Rock website

April 27, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Crowdfunding, the process of raising money to fund what is typically a specific project or activity through many donors using an online platform, has come to Slippery Rock University.

The SRU Foundation, Inc. has launched a new website, Raise the Rock, where students, faculty and alumni can come together online to raise support for student-faculty research, scholarships, service projects, athletics and programs enhancing student learning.

The website, http://raise.sru.edu, includes photographs, videos and social media connections. Groups join the community through an approval process, making it a secure website.

erin bryer

   BRYER

"Crowdfunding is a type of online giving that harnesses the power of the community through many smaller gifts as opposed to singular major gifts," said Erin Bryer, assistant director of development for the foundation. "The Web site engages SRU students, faculty, friends, family and alumni, providing an opportunity to come together in order to support small campaigns that make a big impact."

Since launching the site a year ago, more than $15,000 has been raised, Bryer said.

The site is personalized with testimonials from supporters explaining the mission of a campaign and encouraging others to get involved. For instance, the newly created Pam Frigot Scholarship for International Students, honors Frigot, who retired in December after a 43-year career. The scholarship raises money to support international students.

Dawa Rawat, a psychology major from Nepal, said Frigot was like a mother. She posted comments about why people should contribute to the Frigot scholarship on Raise.sru.edu.

"She encouraged me and provided me with emotional support when I wanted to give up on everything and go back home," Rawalt wrote. "She is the woman who showed me the path of sunshine and helped me gain my confidence back and the hope that tomorrow is beautiful, and I can make it better for myself and others. I love her."

Ryenn Micaletti, SRU assistant women's basketball coach, posted a comment to encourage support for basketball.

"At Slippery Rock University, we are given an amazing opportunity to develop our potential as well-standing academic students and talented athletes," she said. "Playing for The Rock women's basketball team has given us a chance to become strong women who are not afraid to be competitive in every arena of life and the will to constantly move forward to defy the odds."

Deanna Brookens, instructor of theatre and Kaleidoscope Arts Festival director, joined the community to promote a mural restoration project in town.

"The Raise the Rock crowdfunding platform is extremely advantageous," she said. "It gives our students and faculty and their various organizations and departments an opportunity to engage with what is really a mainstream and successful method of fundraising."

Another advantage of Raise the Rock is that it gives community members updates on social media.

"In terms of being able to monitor online giving, it's helpful to see who we have reached so far, as well as to gauge who we would like find additional ways to try to reach," Brookens said. "Our mural restoration project is one that we feel impacts the Slippery Rock community as well as the SRU campus by contributing aesthetic value and pride to the town, so we have been working to spread the word to both communities."

Raise the Rock campaigns are selected on a rolling basis, and several new projects are already in the design phase. Unlike some crowdfunding services, Raise.sru.edu projects receive all of the dollars donated to them, even if the groups do not attain their desired levels of funding. The Slippery Rock University Foundation, Inc. provides training and guidance to all groups running campaigns. For donors, gifts are 100 percent tax deductable, Bryer said.

Visit http://raise.sru.edu to view ongoing campaigns and learn more about crowdfunding at SRU.


MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu