ST. BONAVENTURE, NY— Passionate support from alumni, students, staff, parents and friends pushed St. Bonaventure University’s Franciscan Center for Social Concern over its $40,000 goal during #GivingTuesdayatBonas.

More than 425 donors contributed to the 24-hour crowdfunding event online, raising $48,516.10 for service and social justice programs.

“Incredibly generous and focused on the greater good — that’s what our Bona community is,” said Alice Miller Nation, director of the FCSC.  “Many have witnessed firsthand the hope and healing generated by our outreach ministries, and they proved their continued devotion by donating yesterday.”

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From meeting a $700 student matching gift challenge created by a trio of anonymous donors to surpassing not only the goal but the number of participating donors compared to last year, Miller Nation said the event was a “tremendous success.” An additional 162 donors contributed this year, representing a 61% increase. 

Student and alumni stories highlighted the day and illustrated the transformational power of the FCSC programs, Miller Nation said. 

Once an at-risk youth, alumna Pamela Say-Witter is now a successful author, college administrator and small-business owner in the Buffalo area thanks in part to Bona Buddies and her mentor at the time, alumna Cindy Ostuni of Syracuse.

“When I was with Cindy, I was the only person in the world. We made each other smile,” Say-Witter said. “It’s hard to put into words what that means to a child facing challenges. Community programs like Bona Buddies may be the only counterattack a child has to heal dysfunction.”

Alyssa Levac, a 2018 graduate of the 5-year BBA/MBA program, volunteered at the Warming House throughout her undergraduate career. She also served as program manager while a graduate student.

Getting to know the guests on an individual basis was a highlight of her years of service.

“I still keep in touch with some of the guests,” she said. “Their stories and advice had a great impact on me, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity the coordinator role provided.”

Miller Nation noted that the FCSC offers internships, service experiences and leadership opportunities, several with a focus on the causes and solutions to social problems.

“Each of these programs is student organized, student run and student evaluated,” she noted. “It is because of the generosity of others that our students are able to engage with society’s most vulnerable, creating a lasting impact for all involved.”

Money raised during #GivingTuesdayatBonas will support the following FCSC ministries: Bona Buddies, a youth mentoring program; Silver Wolves, which connects students with elderly residents at a local assisted living home; BREAK the Bubble, a service trip program; Warming House, the nation’s oldest student-run soup kitchen; Farm to Table, a summer program providing students hands-on experience with sustainable agriculture and service; Bona Scouts, an after-school program that uses scouting to teach skills and form friendships; Friends with Sisters, which offers students an opportunity to companion a retired sister at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse; and the Food Pantry, which offers a variety of food items for members of the community.

For more information about the FCSC or to volunteer, contact Alice Miller Nation at anation@sbu.edu or (716) 375-7813. To make a donation, visit www.sbu.edu/donate.