Jack Gallt (@ukalumnijack) is alumni program coordinator at the University of Kentucky Alumni Association.
Spirit, pride, loyalty and service are qualities that define a strong university community and the individuals who belong to it.
Beginning with their time as students and continuing long after graduation, alumni appreciate the value of being part of a unique network of classmates and colleagues who share many of the same experiences and memories of their alma mater. This enduring connection to the institution and individuals who helped shape their lives can be a catalyst for change and goodwill in communities around the country.
During one week each fall, University of Kentucky alumni show their wildcat spirit and give back to their local community through the Cats for a Cause National Service Week program. Started in 2008, this annual event has grown to include more than 30 alumni clubs and close to 500 volunteers annually.
Inspired by an annual day of community service for University of Kentucky students known as FUSION (For Unity and Service In Our Neighborhood), the Cats for a Cause program provides a meaningful engagement opportunity for not only alumni, but also their friends and families.
Clubs are encouraged to partner with local charitable organizations, schools and churches to identify a service activity to enhance their community and the lives of others who are less fortunate.
Helping Others, Helping Themselves
Alumni gladly give their time, expertise and financial assistance to these local organizations, and they also appreciate the opportunity to spend time together while helping others. Recently, a volunteer commented that she learned that many fellow club members had had personal experiences with the charity supported and how heartwarming and gratifying the experience was for her personally.
This year’s activities consisted of 34 service projects in 15 states across the Big Blue Nation, including:
- collecting donations for local food banks, animal shelters and community service programs
- volunteering at local schools, libraries and churches
- helping with community building projects
- raising funds for medical research and local charitable organizations.
The organizations and charities that are on the receiving end of the Cats for a Cause program are also appreciative of these efforts. The house coordinator at a Ronald McDonald House in North Carolina stated that as a result of the local University of Kentucky’s alumni club’s generous donations, families won’t have to worry about finding a hot meal or a place to stay during the difficult time of a child’s hospital stay.
Each year the Cats for a Cause program has grown with more alumni clubs and members participating. The University of Kentucky Alumni Association is committed to supporting and promoting these service projects to demonstrate our members’ school spirit and desire to help their communities, their local nonprofit organizations and their neighbors.
Plant the seed of philanthropy in your alumni organization and watch it grow!