Giving Joy Day 2024 Rallies Generous Supporters

April 8, 2024

Giving Joy Day 2024 wrapped up with the EWU community coming together to raise just over $500,000 for the university.

Faculty and staff participation increased during this year’s event as employees joined alumni, students, and friends of the university to support scholarships, programs, athletics, and safety-net funds. Two funds, the Steve Blewett Internship Endowment and the Eagle Pride Fund, which supports LGBTQ+ students, reached the $25,000 benchmark to become fully endowed and begin providing awards next year.

This year’s Giving Joy Day sparked some inspirational moments. EWU’s Alumni Board reached 100% participation, and then challenged the EWU Foundation Board to do the same. They quickly answered with full participation. From there, the momentum spread.

Bill Youngs, a professor of history at Eastern, has dedicated more than 50 years of his career to EWU students, both in the classroom and as a donor. On Giving Joy Day he made several gifts, including one that closed a gap to fully endow the Steve Blewett Internship Endowment, which was established by Jeff Safford, professor emeritus, communication studies.

“I think it was great that he set up this fund and I’m glad to help with it,” Youngs says.

Youngs’ gift was not just timely for Giving Joy Day, it’s a nod to Blewett, who worked for more than 30 years as a journalism professor and program director at Eastern before retiring. Blewett, now an emeritus professor, began a collaboration with the Associated Press some 20 years ago to establish an election-reporting center at Eastern.

Over the years, the Cheney-based center has employed around 250 Eastern students during each federal election cycle, working nationwide with the AP to provide reputable and reliable election results throughout the years.

Now Blewett has been tapped to recruit colleges and universities across the nation to promote these election-results reporting jobs to students. The goal is to expand the AP’s voter-entry operator pool to 1,000. (Read about Blewett’s latest work online.)

“I love what he has done in journalism, and particularly admire this amazing thing he has done where we play our role in elections by counting up the votes,” says Youngs. “I love bragging anywhere about how ‘When you hear the results on ABC – they are out of Cheney, Washington – out of Eastern.’”

Here is a snapshot of our collective accomplishments for Giving Joy Day 2024:

  • 373 people made donations
  • 548 gifts supported 107 funds
  • 71 gifts honored Swoop’s challenge to donate $14.20, $142.00 or $1,420 to honor the university’s 142nd birthday
  • 128 gifts were made to Eagle Strong – contributing $10,587 to the fund
  • 80% of gifts came from households in Washington state.

A big thank you to everyone who made gifts, volunteered, and spread the word to support student success. Go Eags!