Cares Day donors gave over $1 million for Cal Lutheran initiatives


Contributed - Erin Niemi, University Marketing

Cal Lutheran Cares Day 2021 surpassed the number of gifts and donors from the previous two years.

Madisyn Morin, Reporter

California Lutheran University’s Cares Day, an annual fundraising event, raised over $1 million for 22 initiatives on April 7.

Regina D. Biddings-Muro, vice president of University Advancement, said in an email interview that this year’s fundraising numbers–about $1,055,000 according to the Cares Day website–surpassed those of last year and the year before.  The last day to give is April 21.

“Cares Day 2021 had more donors and more gifts than either of the previous two years,” Biddings-Muro said. “Every gift has a designated purpose established by donors.”

Elena Jaloma, director of Student Support Services (SSS), said in a Zoom interview that this year was the first year SSS has participated in Cares Day. They raised over $11,600, more than quintupling their goal of $2,000.

Jaloma said the reason SSS participated this year was so they could support next year’s graduating students with the cost of caps and gowns for graduation.

“The whole point of it was that we wanted to start a fund, but [we] wanted to start a fund with a cause,” Jaloma said.

SSS is already thinking about other things they can do in the future with their Cares Day fundraising. Jaloma said by offering to pay for next year’s graduating seniors’ caps and gowns, SSS is hoping it will help reduce the overall costs for those students when it comes to graduation.

“I have always recognized the importance of Cares Day, but now seeing it through this lens, I’ve seen a lot of alumni that are attached to the program in some way and now we have this opportunity for them to give back,” Jaloma said. “For someone to give back has been very heartfelt and humbling in a lot of ways.”

Last year, as a result of the declaration of a global pandemic just one month prior, Cal Lutheran changed the name from Giving Day to Cares Day to emphasize the importance of concern for the Cal Lutheran community.

Biddings-Muro said the primary goal of Cares Day is to expand the culture of philanthropy among the community of Cal Lutheran supporters. Students, faculty, coaching staff and alumni can submit stories about themselves and their time at Cal Lutheran to engage more donors.

A significant amount of the donations go to student scholarships and more than 90% of students at Cal Lutheran receive some type of financial aid, Biddings-Muro said. Last year, “donors contributed more than $250,000 dollars to an endowment to support student scholarships.”

“During this dedicated time [Cares Day], all members of the community come together and pay tribute to coaches, faculty, staff, program leaders and outstanding individuals who are making or have made a major impact during their experiences at this university,” Biddings-Muro said.