ST. BONAVENTURE — Support from alumni, students, staff, parents and friends pushed St. Bonaventure University’s Franciscan Center for Social Concern over its $40,000 goal during Giving Tuesday.

More than 425 donors contributed to the 24-hour crowdfunding event online, the university reported, 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.”

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 percent increase.

Student and alumni stories highlighted the day and illustrated the transformational power of the FCSC programs, she 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.”

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

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)

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