At Illinois State, Redbirds support Redbirds. In fact, more than 54,000 alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students, and friends have supported current students’ dreams by contributing to Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State. To honor the generous donors who help the University provide a premier educational experience, Illinois State will be kicking off its second annual Redbird Philanthropy Week on February 24, 2020.

Occurring the week after Founders Day, Redbird Philanthropy Week expands upon the commemoration of Illinois State’s rich history and traditions by celebrating Redbirds’ shared future and the tremendous impact that private giving has upon the University’s continued growth. Just as Illinois State’s founders banded together to create a world-class institution, so too can Illinois State alumni and friends unite to expand Illinois State’s margin of excellence by supporting Redbird Philanthropy Week.

Van Miller, director of annual giving at Illinois State University, hopes that the week will serve as a learning experience for all Redbirds.

“Philanthropy improves everything we do at Illinois State University,” Miller said. “Donors play such a critical role in advancing the University. Redbird Philanthropy Week is an occasion to celebrate our donors while featuring opportunities for students to understand the ways donors actively work to help them rise to new heights of excellence.”

The hallmark of Redbird Philanthropy Week is Illinois State’s exclusive giving day on February 27, Birds Give Back: 1 Day for Change. Birds Give Back emphasizes the importance of participation in the philanthropic process, no matter one’s financial standing. The day will feature gift matching, where donors will match donations given to a particular fund or college up to a set dollar amount. Another feature of Birds Give Back is unique giving challenges. One such challenge will unlock a $100,000 gift from a donor once 500 individuals donate during Birds Give Back. All challenges and matches will be posted on the day’s site,

According to Senior Director of Annual Giving Jillian Nelson, the giving challenges on Birds Give Back ensure that Redbirds’ gifts will be more impactful.

“As a student or young alumni with not that much expendable income, you may feel like it’s not worth the effort to make a small gift,” Nelson said, “but gift matching and giving challenges allow your gift of any size to have more power than it would on its own. Collectively, we can come together to enhance Illinois State.”

Hannah Uranich, a senior student in public relations at Illinois State, is excited for the ways that Redbird Philanthropy Week and Birds Give Back will demonstrate to students the power they have to come together and grow the Illinois State community through philanthropy.

“Redbird Philanthropy Week is an amazing opportunity that shows students the power of past and present Redbirds coming together to enhance the University. When students see this, they will be able to realize not only how important giving is, but how special it is in creating a deeper connection with our institution,” Uranich said.

Join us for the following Redbird Philanthropy events across campus!

  • Philanthropy Exhibits: Monday, February 24–Friday, February 28 Bone Student Center (Spotlight), Milner Library. Explore visual exhibits to see how philanthropy is impacting your Redbird experience
  • Philanthropy exhibits and swag: Tuesday, February 25, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Bone Student Center (Spotlight) and Milner Library. Stop by to learn about Redbird Philanthropy and pick up exclusive Redbird swag!
  • Faces of Philanthropy: Wednesday, February 26, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Circus Room, Bone Student Center. Take your photo in our unique Instagrammable space, then film a short message to donors before enjoying pizza and a new shirt while supplies last.
  • Become a Redbird Philanthropist: Thursday, February 27, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Bone Student Center (outside Qdoba), Linkins Dining Center, Watterson Dining Center. Stop by a mobile giving station and become a Redbird Philanthropist by making your gift of any size during Birds Give Back. Credit, debit and Redbird card dollars will be accepted. All donors will receive an exclusive Reggie patch and gifts of $15 or more will receive a pair of Redbird socks while supplies last!
  • Thank A Redbird Philanthropist: Friday, February 28,  10 a.m.–2 p.m. Bone Student Center (Spotlight) and Milner Library. Stop by one of our thank you tables and share your note of thanks with a Redbird Philanthropist. Free cookies for all who join us to thank a Redbird donor!