The goal was 380. But by the time the number of donations to Brooks School on our February 8 Giving Day challenge were tallied, that figure had been surpassed by hundreds — nearly 300 gifts, in fact.
The sum of monetary gifts to Brooks during the 24-hour contest was an impressive 678, with the vast majority, 629, coming directly from alums.
"It really was amazing to watch the friendly competition that came out among classes, among the decades, and how they corresponded with each other throughout the day to get amazing feedback from people," said Gage Dobbins, director of development. "It was an inspiring rallying cry for the school, connecting alums with each other and with Brooks."
Just like the inaugural Giving Day last year, this challenge supports the Brooks Fund, which provides about 10 percent of the school's $22 million annual operating budget. And similar to last year, the event was an interscholastic challenge against our rival, The Governor's Academy, aka: "Gov's."
During the same 24-hour period, kicking off at 12 a.m. Wednesday and wrapping up at 11:59 p.m., both schools actively fundraised online, on the phone and in person. Per rules, the school with the most gifts at the end of the day is declared the winner, earning the right to fly their school flag on the other campus' flagpole for a day for all to see (and take commemorative photos to share online as evidence of the coup).
At the end of the day Wednesday, Gov's pulled in 586 gifts, nearly 100 fewer than Brooks.
Last year, Gov's won the challenge. And while Brooks raised a significant $68,464 for the Brooks Fund through 487 gifts, our rival's flag was still raised on our campus last spring in bragging rights. The memory motivated alums to actively recruit their classmates, friends and family to ensure that Wednesday's contest would come out differently.
"We had hopes that it would be better than last year but certainly all their efforts exceeded our wildest expectations," said Dobbins, who credits alums for making the difference. "It really comes back to relationships. Alums were asking each other to give and connecting with each other. It was wonderful to hear the stories and see the comments and gifts being given in honor of people or because people reached out to someone directly."
Molly Alvino '15 is just one example of that. "I wouldn't be who I am without the relationships I created at Brooks," she said while passing along her pledge. "From the sense of community in the classroom, in the dorm, or on the squash and tennis courts, I created irreplaceable bonds that I wouldn't trade for anything."
President of the Alumni Board Jon Gibbons '92 noted that his motivation came from wanting others to feel that same connection. "I give to Brooks," he shared, "because I want the current Brooks students to have the same great experience I enjoyed!"
Brooks School trustee Whitney Savignano '87 spoke in support of Giving Day from a wider perspective. "People before me gave to this school to make the school what it was when I arrived in 1984, and so I feel like we all have a [responsibility] to continue giving even if our kids are not here, even if we're far away," she said in a video shared to rally support on Wednesday. "I think it's important to stay connected to the school. We have a responsibility to keep paying it forward."
Carly Churchill '10, assistant director of alumni programs, also applauded the alums who not only contributed money on Giving Day, but their time and enthusiasm. "It was really impressive that people we had talked to ahead of time volunteered to spread the word and make sure that their classmates would be a part of the challenge," she said. "There were more than 15 alums who reached out to former students in their classes, asking them to give. They were so invested in it."
Just as Brooks School supported all of it's alumni when they were students, the alums supported Brooks School when it counted, helping to secure victory over Gov's and raise valuable funds. And when Brooks' flag is raised on The Governor's Academy campus flagpole in Byfield, Mass., later this spring, you can be sure Brooks alums will be celebrating together too — all 678 of them.
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