By Raneem Hamad
Student Writer, ASU Enterprise Partners
Fundraisers from the ASU Foundation welcomed in the month of November by volunteering at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona (SVdP) to prepare food and spruce up the organization’s Phoenix site, but also to further its commitment to improving lives across the Phoenix community. Volunteers joined forces with SVdP on Friday to pack more than 1,500 sack lunches, prepare 250 pounds of potatoes for meals the following weekend, distribute resources including toiletries kits and clothing to hundreds of individuals in need, and paint 15 walls.
“The ASU Foundation is an organization that is committed to serving our community, and this is a great example of doing exactly that,” said Gretchen Buhlig, who organized the event. Buhlig was appointed CEO of the ASU Foundation in July 2017 and is committed to growing the organization’s presence in the community as she continues to lead Campaign ASU 2020, an effort to generate at least $1.5 billion in support for ASU. “I’ll always be asking our team and myself: ‘How can we stay focused on how we better other lives, both on and off campus?’”
The foundation, a non-profit organization that raises private support for Arizona State University’s educational priorities, is one of five subsidiaries of ASU Enterprise Partners. Employees from across ASU Enterprise Partners joined in the foundation volunteer day.
Buhlig added that she is proud of her team for serving such a great cause. “Considering that 90 percent of the work done at St. Vincent de Paul is done by the community, I believed it was critical for us as an organization to be a part of the larger effort,” she said.
Every year, St. Vincent de Paul—an international nonprofit dedicated to serving the poor— ensures hundreds of families have warm meals, clothing, and a safe space where children can study and play. Recently, aided by private support, professors in ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business worked closely with the organization to improve every step of their supply chain – a story detailed in the upcoming issue of ASU Foundation’s Impact magazine.
“The service project was truly inspirational for me,” added Rebecca Herrera, coordinator of scholarship programs at the foundation. “I was raised to give back to others, and I quickly realized there’s a lot more I can do to help my community.”
Creating partnerships throughout the community in an effort to magnify the impact of its volunteer efforts is another goal for the ASU Foundation. Buhlig said, “I firmly believe that fundraising is more powerful when we team up together. I look forward for the two organizations to work together again and to be an influential part of our communities.”
Aza Issifu, project manager in ASU Enterprise Partner’s communication department, said, “Being a part of the foundation and getting the opportunity to serve our community in such an active way is truly incredible.”
Enhancing the ASU community’s local impact and social embeddedness is part of the university’s mission. Programs across campus partner with local organizations in a variety of fields, including at the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, where students and faculty team up with St. Vincent de Paul.
“It’s a partnership that only continues to strengthen,” said Dale Larsen, professor of practice and honors faculty at the college. “The college hosts an annual Day of Service each fall for 100-150 student and faculty volunteers, who are assigned all kinds of tasks [at SVdP], including their two urban farms and indoor residential living units.” In addition to the service days, the college also supports a project manager at St. Vincent de Paul and student internships arranged by sponsoring schools.
ASU Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul were equally thrilled about the wonderful turnout of the service. Irma Leyendecker, the volunteer services manager for St. Vincent de Paul, says the Society truly appreciates the support and partnership. “St. Vincent de Paul couldn’t do all that it does without the help of partners like the foundation and ASU,” she said.
Together, our potential truly is limitless.