This year marks the completion of the fifth annual Park Scholarships March Madness: a two-pronged, friendly competition between current scholars to see which class will have the highest percentage of donor participants and contribute the highest dollar amount in donations.
This year’s competition was coordinated by the newly-formed Park Philanthropy Council, a group of scholars dedicated to instilling in Park Scholars a desire to give back and sustain the Park program for generations to come. Samuel Shain ‘19, NC State Student Government’s first-ever director of student philanthropy and director of the Park Philanthropy Council, is passionate about giving.
“The Park Scholarships program is an impressive community of bright, driven, and compassionate individuals,” said Shain. “Our supportive network is something we take immense pride in—and something as many college students and alumni as possible should be presented with. Giving back to Park ensures the continuation of invaluable support channels to promote current student success and permits additional scholars to be funded, too. These future changemakers will have the opportunity to learn from our tight-knit community and work towards noble efforts that represent our program’s core mission.”
Park March Madness has cultivated enthusiasm for giving back to the program. Current Park Scholar giving has increased significantly since the contest’s inception, from 51% participation in the 2013 competition to 82% participation in the 2017 competition.
Natalie Aziz ‘17, a business administration major from Apopka, Fla., said that she chooses to give because “Park has given me so many opportunities throughout my time at NC State, and I want to make sure that other Park Scholars are able to have the same opportunities in their futures, too!”
This year saw a boost in donations as March Madness coincided with the university-wide Student Giving Day on March 29, as well as with Park’s Got Talent, a community-wide talent show in which Park Scholars performed unique acts for their classmates, Faculty Scholars, and the Park staff. The March 24 show doubled as a fundraising opportunity, raising more than $200 in donations to the Park program that evening alone.
Park March Madness 2017 closed with a 100% participation tie between the Classes of 2019 and 2020, with the former taking the win for amount donated. All told, current scholars contributed more than $11,000 to the Park Scholarships program during this year’s competition—that’s enough to fund one Park class’ Learning Lab I, plus about four Park Enrichment Grants!
Story by Mikayla Raleigh ‘17