Employees invest their time, energy and lives at BYU, but as if that wasn’t enough, three quarters of all employees will give contributions this month that ultimately benefit the BYU community.
Each March, employees are invited to contribute to any area they are interested in, from scholarships and mentoring grants to building funds. Known as Employee Giving Month since 1972, these funds represent another avenue to improve educational opportunities at BYU, especially for students.
Paige Barnes, a pre-nursing major from Bountiful, received a scholarship through the Employee Giving fund. She said the scholarship has given her the education she always dreamed of, at one of the top schools in the country. Barnes said the contribution has made a long-lasting impact on her life.
“I came from a single-member family and going to BYU was this impossible dream,” Barnes said. “There are students here just like me, and they are here because of [BYU employees]. I hope they realize what a difference they have made in our lives.”
Darla Seamons, director of Employee Giving, said the purpose of the fund is to allow employees to give in areas where they want the difference to happen. For example, contributions designated specifically for the Physical Facilities Department in 2010 created 10 new $1,000 scholarships for students.
“This is a chance for employees to give back their time, talents and treasure to help students,” Seamons said. “Every year, the contributions show the great spirit about employees because they want to make a difference. We are charitable by nature and are taught to give and serve. This is another aspect of that.”
Gordon Gibb, chair of Employee Giving, said their committee works to spread the word about the program with posters and videos that demonstrate the impact employees can have on the future of students. Gibb said BYU’s employees are among the most philanthropic in the nation.
“BYU is unusual in the U.S. in that 75 percent of faculty and staff contribute to the Employee Giving program,” Gibb said. “That has increased even during the economic downturn. No other university has the same results or comes close to it.”
Barnes said she is grateful for the generosity of the employees and has become more active in her community because of the contribution she received.
“The scholarship has affected me personally and made me more aware of people around me,” Barnes said. “It’s a service and a gift. It’s made me want to help more and give back because I’ve been given so much.”