IIT Chicago-Kent Rises to the Challenge: “Day of Giving” Raises More Than $177,000

IIT Chicago-Kent’s Day of Giving began October 29 with a pre-dawn email from Dean Harold J. Krent.

The challenge was clear: Alumni Steve Jambois ′82 and Al Schwartz ′84 of the law firm of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz would donate $50,000 if the law school could match that amount by midnight. When the challenge—hashtagged #TODAY4CK—ended, Jambois, Schwartz and nearly 400 donors had contributed $177,640.21 to the law school.

Of the 373 people who contributed during the Day of Giving, 92 were first-time donors. There were 16 IIT Chicago-Kent staff gifts and 33 gifts from the faculty. Forty contributors gave $1,000 or more. There were 22 gifts from LL.M. graduates in the United States and from countries as far away as China, Egypt, and Georgia. Nearly one-third of the total number of gifts came from IIT Chicago-Kent alumni who graduated within the last 10 years. The class of 2013 had the largest number of contributors, followed by the classes of 2008 and 2009.

“I was very impressed with our young alumni,” said Katie Aune, director of alumni engagement. “Our Young Alumni Council did a tremendous job spreading the word.”

Organizers and volunteers took phone and email contributions and harnessed the power of social media to prompt and monitor donations. Alumni encouraged giving by making their contributions and posting about #TODAY4CK on social media. For example, author Jamie Freveletti ′85 and entrepreneur Billy Dec ′99 made contributions and tweeted about IIT Chicago-Kent’s Day of Giving to their nearly 40,000 total followers.

Gifts came from both current and future alumni in 48 different class years—from 1966 to 2016. Student Bar Association vice president Odell Mitchell III ′15 manned the phones and computers to receive contributions.

“I participated because it is important to me to give back to the school and to encourage others to do so,” said Mitchell. “As a student, I greatly appreciate the many contributions of alumni. Being able to encourage alumni to begin or continue those contributions was a great experience.”

Jambois and Schwartz’s challenge was met just before 2 p.m., when Kelley Flanagan ′17 took a call from an alum in Missouri, who gave $1,000. “When I heard that we had reached our goal, I had mixed emotions,” said Flanagan. “It was like the moment when you win a big game, you’re both relieved and excited, relaxed and energetic. It was really a special moment. I’m so proud of everyone involved. It was a great team effort. We did it!”

Volunteers had little time to enjoy their success as Ann Cresce ′94 offered a second challenge. Cresce would contribute an additional $10,000 if 100 more donors gave by the end of the Day of Giving. Gifts from 186 donors helped the law school meet its first challenge. The magic number for Cresce’s challenge—286—was in sight by nearly 5 p.m.

When that goal was met, the IIT Chicago-Kent faculty offered to match all gifts made the rest of the day—up to $30,000. “We were especially moved by how much the faculty jumped on board with their effort,” said Aune. “It was really amazing and something we hadn’t anticipated.”

Founded in 1888, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, also known as Illinois Tech, a private, technology-focused, research university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, science, architecture, business, design, human sciences, applied technology, and law.

Watch the Day of Giving video here.