In the 2012-2013 academic year employee giving at Southern reached an all-time high of 76.5 percent, a figure more than twice the national average. That number was made possible, in part, thanks to the university’s Building Relationships in Department Giving Everyday (BRIDGE) program, an initiative that encourages employees to contribute by increasing their awareness of both the needs of the school and the benefits of investing.
Faculty and staff donations have increased an average of four percent every year since the BRIDGE program began in 2007. This year 18 departments achieved 100 percent participation, with a total of 369 of the 482 full-time employees giving to Southern.
"I think it says a lot about Southern that the employees are willing and eager to turn around and give a part of their paycheck to support it," said Cheryl Torres, annual giving officer. "The people who work on campus are not just here for a job, they are here because they believe in the school, the mission, and the students."
Employees are able to direct their gift to any area of the university. In the past many have chosen the Southern Annual Fund, which assists with general expenses and keeps tuition costs down, individual department affinity funds, which help departments meet their goals and provide scholarships, and other capital projects such as the building of new facilities.
The donors’ age and tenure at Southern covers a broad spectrum. Despite the fact that he has only been an employee for two semesters, Aaron Corbit, assistant professor in the Biology Department, made a financial gift this year.
"Even though I am new to the university, giving was the right thing to do," Corbit said. "I believe in Southern's mission and want to help support it."
For more information on employee giving, or to make a donation, visit southern.edu/advancement.