All staff members of WGLT invested in Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State, showing their unwavering support for the University and commitment to the students. The radio station is hoping their efforts will inspire other campus units to reach 100 percent participation and inspire all faculty, staff, and retirees to make a gift.
WGLT is a National Public Radio (NPR) member public radio station licensed to Illinois State University. The station is a unit of the School of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), and regularly reaches tens of thousands of listeners and readers each week.
WGLT staff are proud of Illinois State and WGLT, so they find it natural to give back to the station that has given them so much.
“It wasn’t even a question as to if I should give back, it just made sense,” said Reporter Mary Cullen ’17.
The sense of community that stems from WGLT makes it easier for members like Cullen to contribute to the campaign.
“It’s important to be seen supporting what you are doing and what you’re passionate about,” said News Director Charlie Schlenker.
When alumni and staff choose to give back to ISU, they are choosing to make an impact on the programs, facilities, and students. Scholarship support from generous donors helped General Manager R.C. McBride ’99 along his journey when he came to ISU as a first-generation college student. McBride experienced the first-hand impact of donor gifts which allowed him to pursue his passion in radio. Now, it’s his turn to give back. McBride’s monetary gifts support the Red & White Scholarship Fund, along with WGLT.
Staff donations help with building credibility for the Redbirds Rising campaign. Mike McCurdy, who helps with the WGLT fund drive, asked, “How can I ask others to give if I don’t give myself? It just seems like the right thing to do.”
Members of the station also show pride by wearing their Redbird in Flight pins, which faculty and staff donors receive when they make a gift. Its emblem also makes a great conversation starter. Some staff donors are asked, “How did you get that pin?” and “Where do I get one?”
Even with 100 percent participation, WGLT does not plan to stop its effort to support the Redbirds Rising Campaign. WGLT is currently fundraising during their annual fall fund drive with the goal of growing its current donor base, more than 50 percent of which are alums, faculty, and staff. This supports Illinois State’s goal of 15,000 Redbirds Strong: 15,000 donors to the campaign during fiscal year 2020.
Redbirds Rising has more than 51,000 donors who have already contributed over $162 million. One hundred percent staff participation was always the goal, but when it was publicized during Birds Give Back, increasing unit participation became a challenge all WGLT staff embraced.
“When employees choose to support the University and its programs, it is a great testament to their passion for our mission,” Senior Director of Annual Giving Jillian Nelson said. “It shows our community that we are committed to the success of our students and our institution. We are proud of the WGLT staff for reaching 100 percent participation!”