TCO’s Gift Basket Fundraiser for Simpson Housing Services
In the spirit of the holiday season, Rasmussen College’s Mission and Service Council asked each of its campuses and offices to support a local nonprofit organization of their choice. The Mission and Service Council, established in 2015, upholds the College’s mission and demonstrates its commitment to the public good by supporting the empowerment of local communities. This Fall, the Council launched a College-wide initiative, aligning with 2017’s theme of Volunteerism, to help children and families who are homeless or in transition.
Each campus and office location had the opportunity to choose a local nonprofit organization, and the Twin Cities office in Minnesota chose to support Simpson Housing Services, a leading nonprofit providing assistance—including emergency shelter and single-adult and family-support housing—to people experiencing homelessness in the metro area. Lauren DeMarte, Rasmussen College central reception and office manager said they chose to support Simpson Housing because, “Rasmussen College believes that everybody has a right to education, and similarly, Simpson Housing Services believes everybody has a right to a safe environment to live.” The Twin Cities Office collected an assortment of items to assemble into welcome baskets for residents upon arriving at Simpson. Individuals and families receive the welcome baskets containing essential household items like a rug, thermometer, shower curtain and more to get them started. In addition to bath and laundry items, Rasmussen College also donated Target gift cards for each basket.
The Twin Cities office approached the assignment by choosing a fundraising opportunity everyone in the organization could contribute to, whether that be financially or simply lending their time to the cause. “We asked ourselves, ‘How can we get the most participation?’ So we decided to give our employees the opportunity to either donate or to help put together and deliver the baskets,” says DeMarte. Their goal was to assemble five baskets, and the team was able to deliver seven baskets to Simpson Housing Services in December. DeMarte explains, “It’s about giving everyone the opportunity to give back and make a difference. Everybody can help in some way, and you’re never too busy to help.”
Mankato’s Shoe Drive Fundraiser with Funds2Orgs for Saint Jude
With a similar mindset of supporting those in need, Dr. Joan Rich, vice president of the Rasmussen College School of Nursing, challenged the College’s Nursing program to raise money for Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading treatment and research facility for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Each campus was able to choose how they would raise money, and the Mankato Campus chose to partner with Funds2Orgs to collect gently worn, used and new shoes for a shoe drive fundraiser, which will ultimately contribute to a donation for Saint Jude.
Funds2Orgs helps organizations like Rasmussen College raise money by providing creative fundraising ideas, such as shoe drives, that make a global impact. Not only do these opportunities provide shoes for people who need them across the world, but also provide economic opportunities for workers in developing nations in addition to helping the environment.
It’s no secret that many Americans have more stuff than they want or need, and when shoes are left in closets and go unused, they do nothing but take up space. Debb Pongratz, associate instructor within the Nursing program, led this year’s efforts at the Mankato Campus. She explains, “Funds2Orgs collects shoes for over 25 countries overseas, and the shoe donations also help to create new businesses in these developing nations.” Repurposing old shoes supports micro-enterprises, or small businesses with minimal employees and capital, in developing nations like Haiti, Colombia, India and Tanzania. Enabling these micro-enterprises with the resources they need presents great economic value by creating small business opportunities, boosting income and promoting commerce. “Americans have a lot of shoes, so it’s nice to have a place to donate them and know that it’s for a good cause,” Pongratz adds.
In addition to cultivating economic growth in areas in need, recycling shoes helps the environment more than one might think. In fact, shoes that end up in landfills are harmful to the planet and can take decades to disintegrate. Pongratz says, “Shoes can take hundreds of years to break down and recycle, so by supporting shoe drive fundraisers and repurposing our old shoes, we’re also helping the environment.”
Students and faculty participated by donating shoes and sharing about the fundraiser with their own community groups to involve the greater community. Pongratz shares, “It has been a challenge, but we’re always up for a challenge.” The Mankato Campus collected over 675 pairs of shoes by the end of the shoe drive. “We weren’t asking people to donate money. It doesn’t cost anyone anything to give shoes to people who can really utilize them.” When the shoes are picked up by Funds2Orgs, Rasmussen College will be presented with a check to donate to Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
To learn more about Rasmussen College’s mission and Pledge of Public Accountability, please visit: http://www.rasmussen.edu/about-rasmussen-college/