Giving Joy Day is About Community

March 30, 2023

Eastern Washington University’s Giving Joy Day is officially underway, along with some fun festivities to mark the university’s 141st birthday.

Giving Joy Day is a time when our Eastern community comes together to help hardworking Eagles earn degrees that lead to professional success and upward mobility. This year, we share a goal of raising $400,000 for scholarships and student programs.

EWU President Shari McMahan is kicking off the celebration with a gift to the Student Activities Fund. Every year, EWU students take the lead in planning events and celebrations that are enjoyed by the entire campus community, as well as children and families from surrounding areas. Students often lack funds and must, at times, come up with fundraisers to cover some of the event expenses. 

McMahan’s gift to this student-directed fund supports Eagle-led signature events that enhance campus culture, grow engagement, and develop lifelong leadership skills.

“This generous gift exemplifies what our weeklong celebration is all about: spreading Joy to Eastern students. A big thank you to Dr. McMahan!” says Linda Safford, senior director of annual giving and chief planner of this major event.

Giving Joy Day is a vital piece of the transformational work that Eastern’s faculty and staff do to help talented students like Cedric Bradley realize their potential as leaders and problem solvers.

Bradley, previously a single father of four who struggled with homelessness, was determined to pursue an education – and a better life for his family. Scott Finnie, PhD, program director and senior faculty member of Africana Studies, was instrumental in helping him establish a personalized course of interdisciplinary studies.

Today, Bradley is working toward his master’s degree while making a profound difference in the community. He has led peer support groups that helped men of color and people who’ve been incarcerated, served as criminal justice chair for the Spokane NAACP, and started the Family Community Services nonprofit to help unsheltered people find housing. He serves as director of housing at Passages Family Support, an outpatient mental health center that provides wraparound support services. On top of that, Bradley mentors incoming EWU students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Now a married father of five, this hardworking role model has provided a comfortable life for his family while working to better lives and solve community problems. Bradley says while at Eastern, he learned to make positive connections and build trust – and that was transformational.

Eastern has 141 years of educating talented professionals like Bradley. Not surprisingly, Spokane County and the cities of Spokane and Cheney issued official proclamations for Giving Joy Day.

Our Alumni Relations team is poised to spread some joy to alumni-owned and operated businesses in the area with swag bags and treats on Monday.

On Tuesday, Eastern kicks off birthday festivities at the Catalyst with cupcakes served at 9 a.m., and again at 4:30 p.m. Treats will be served at 11:30 a.m. at the Health Sciences Building, just down the road. 

On Wednesday, join President McMahan and our campus community for cupcakes from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Arévalo Mall on the Cheney campus (festivities will be in the PUB if the weather turns). Stay tuned, there will be special guests and we will announce several big gifts that day!

Here are a few of the ways you can support Giving Joy Day. Thank you for making a difference:

  • Visit EWU/GIVE to explore funds you want to support. 
  • Participate in Eastern’s Faculty and Staff Campaign to Support our Students. Click on this link to access a downloadable form.
  • Make a gift to Eagle On. The fund provides well-timed assistance for students who’ve encountered unforeseen obstacles, such as medical expenses or a steep increase in rent, that threaten to delay – or derail – their academic success.
  • Donate to Steve Blewett Student Internship Endowment or Sally Winkle Women’s and Gender Studies Scholarship to get them funded enough to start benefiting students.
  • Keep student athletes competing on the field and in the classroom with your gift to Athletics’ Nutrition Station.
  • Help us meet a $25,000 match challenge for the Kathy (Iverson) Privratsky Honorary Endowed Scholarship. Every dollar you give (up to $25,000) will be matched to help communication sciences and disorders grad students. (Learn more about the Privratskys.)
  • Visit GivingJoyDay.org for free Zoom backgrounds, color pages and updates.
  • Please share EWU’s social media stories to help us rally Eagle alumni from 50 states to give joy.
  • Watch for Giving Joy Day signs in the community and stop by Eagle-owned businesses to say “thank you.”
  • On April 3, wear red and help us celebrate, wherever you live, work or study.