Illinois State University President Larry Dietz announced a Redbirds Rising campaign challenge to more than 200 of Illinois State University’s loyal annual donors during the Loyalty Circle Breakfast on Founder’s Day, February 21, 2019.

“As we head toward the Redbirds Rising finish line we want to focus on involving the campus community in unprecedented numbers,” said Dietz. “As such, in honor of our founding year—1857, I challenge our faculty, staff, and retirees to help us reach a goal of 1,857 donors from our campus community during the last two years of our Redbirds Rising campaign.”

Redbirds Rising, Illinois State’s most ambitious fundraising campaign, was publicly launched in September 2017 with a goal of raising at least $150 million in support of scholarship, leadership, and innovation at the University. To date, more than 46,000 donors have contributed in excess of $137 million to the University.

The Loyalty Circle breakfast is held annually on Founder’s Day to show appreciation for members of the Loyalty Circle—donors who have made a gift of any size during a prior fiscal year and within the current fiscal year. Support at all levels of giving has had a significant impact in the success of the campaign and is vital to the advancement of Illinois State.

Approximately 27 percent, or $37 million, of the campaign’s current total has been contributed from gifts of less than $25,000. “Every gift, regardless of size, makes a difference in our ability to ensure all Redbirds have an excellent educational experience,” Vice President of University Advancement Pat Vickerman said.

The Loyalty Circle breakfast provides an opportunity for donors to be recognized and connect with each other, but more importantly, they see how they are impacting Illinois State University. This year, guests heard from political science graduate student Fatemeh Jamali, who recently experienced a medical emergency. Without the support of donors and the Red and White Scholarship fund, Jamali may not have been able to pay for emergency healthcare expenses.

What’s next?

The announcement of the campus community challenge comes one week before Birds Give Back: 1 Day for Change, taking place on February 28, 2019. Birds Give Back is a day for Redbirds to come together and give to their passions at Illinois State. The University will feature a series of giving challenges, matches, exclusive videos, and social media posts to keep the day interesting and engage a broad range of Redbird supporters.

Visit on February 28 to help make a difference at Illinois State University.