Grinnell’s giving nature front and center during National Philanthropy Week

December 16, 2021 — For Tara Rawlings ’23, National Philanthropy Week was a great opportunity to learn more about her school.

“I had no idea we had a class of 1995 study space or how much depth there is to the history of the College,” she says.

Held from Nov. 15-18, National Philanthropy Week provided testament to Grinnellians’ giving nature. Throughout the week, students engaged with events hosted by the Student Alumni Council (SAC) that reinforce the four themes of philanthropy: treasure, ties, time, and talent.

Monday kicked off with the opening of a week-long geocaching treasure hunt. Students were able to solve riddles guiding them to eight spots on campus made possible through alumni donations. Destinations included the Herrick Chapel Fallen Soldiers Memorial Plaque and the Broken English Yeats poetry sculpture. At each cache, students were greeted by various small treasures and stickers with which to mark their Philanthropy Passports.

Stella Schaefer-Brown ’22 and Maddie Sevier ’23
  Stella Schaefer-Brown ’22
  and Maddie Sevier ’23

“We were very proud of SACs organization and implementation of events for National Philanthropy Week this year,” says Stella Schaefer-Brown ’22, SAC co-chair. “All of our events and tabling went well and our all-week geocaching event engaged students across campus and promoted awareness for National Philanthropy Week.”

The week concluded Nov. 18 with the Talent Swap. Students showcased their talents and invited their peers to share in their interests. There were tables set up for destressing and making art with origami, drawing, and Play-Doh.

“A highlight of the week was our talent sharing event, which allowed students the opportunity to teach others a talent of theirs, says Maddie Sevier ’23, SAC co-chair. “This event had a large turnout and highlighted the Grinnell philanthropy spirit.” 

During the Talent Swap, Rawlings demonstrated her creativity and dexterity with balloons, crafting giraffes, swords, and more. 

“When I saw SAC was planning a talent swap, I signed up right away,” Rawlings says. “I love making balloon animals and getting to share that with other students was great! So many students made fantastic balloon swords and dogs, and hopefully this will inspire people to explore more new hobbies.”

Michael Andrzejewski ’23 showed his skill with Virtual Reality, ending his game demonstration with an invitation for audience members to connect with him later and try their hand at VR. 

A line-dancing group and audience members groove to a Blake Shelton song at the Talent Swap during National Philanthropy Week.
A line-dancing group and audience members groove to a Blake Shelton song at the Talent Swap during National Philanthropy Week.

A line-dancing group brought the performances to a close as they first danced alone and then got audience members on stage with them for a second round. In keeping with Grinnellians’ appreciation of the Iowan cornfields that surround town, participants learned to line-dance to the country tunes of Blake Shelton’s ode to corn, Corn. Students also had the opportunity to submit their completed Philanthropy Passport for raffle prizes.

National Philanthropy Day was originally conceived by Douglas Freeman in the 1980s, and the first official national events were held in 1986 after President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation designating Nov. 15 as National Philanthropy Day. The idea behind the day is to recognize the great contributions of philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – to the enrichment of the world.

By extending the day to a week, the Student Alumni Council gave more time to better treasure what talented alumni, friends of the College, faculty, staff, parents, and their fellow students provide the College: the philanthropy that ties us together.

— by Savannah Crenshaw ’23

For your information:

Learn more about how the Student Alumni Council is fostering connections between students and alumni. Share you ties, time and talent through volunteer opportunities or share your treasure through a gift to the College.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive and like the Alumni & Friends Facebook page.