By Mollie Higgins
Chabad held a 24-hour-long donation campaign that began Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the hopes of raising $50,000. The group surpassed the goal by raising a total of $60,070.
Chabad applied for and received a grant from the Slomo and Cindy Silvian Foundation, Inc.,which matched every $1 donated with $2 during this 24-hour period.
After reaching its goal of $50,000, Chabad continued to receive grants from Yaakov and Karen Cohen, along with a 1997 graduate of this university who wished to remain unnamed. The foundation continued matching for the final four hours, until 1 p.m. Thursday, to reach $60,000.
Rabbi Eli Backman said that like any non profit, “Chabad survives upon funding and generous supporters,” in order to thrive.
Backman said that this kind of 24-hour campaign is a first for Chabad and challenged them to raise a record amount in a short period of time.
“I don’t involve students in the fundraising part of the organization,” Backman said. “I involve students in the events and activities end of the organization and generally that is because I want students to be able to feel comfortable to come regardless of the financial situation they might be in.”
The money raised by the campaign will go back to students with new initiatives and programs to be rolled out at the beginning of next semester, Backman said.
“Thankfully, the way the semester is rolling, we went right into Shabbat, right into Hanukkah and graduation,” Backman said, discussing how this is a busy time of the year. “End of the year is often when people like to give due to tax purposes, and it’s also Hanukkah so people are particularly generous so we thought it would be a good time to pull it all together.”
Some of the money raised will also be going toward new activities for Hanukkah that Chabad will be trying this year.
“Every penny that we raise stays here,” Backman said, stressing that the students’ voice is important in what they want to see as far as new programs and staying engaged.
“It was very thrilling and exciting to see the response from the people who got behind it,” he added.
Senior accounting and information systems major Olivia Sondler said, “I was overwhelmed to hear that they raised over $60,000 and I’m excited to see what they do in the future.”
While he typically doesn’t like to involve students in the fundraising process, Backman did see students posting on Facebook and wanting to be involved.
Senior communications major Josh Goldstein said he posted on Facebook to help spread the message and raise awareness.
“Chabad has been such a welcoming and friendly environment for me and all students,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein added that he personally didn’t donate, but he passed the message on to his family and was active in promoting the campaign during the 24 hours.
“Thankfully, with the help of [God] and the help of all the generous donors and supporters, we were able to reach our goal,” Backman said.