Photo of members of the Case Rocket Team posing for a photo outside with their rockets

Campus community breaks fundraising records for #GivingTuesdayatCWRU

With renewed energy after Thanksgiving weekend, Case Western Reserve students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff rallied together to shatter every #GivingTuesdayatCWRU fundraising record since the university began participating in 2013—with 419 donors giving more than $40,000 to campus causes.

The global day of giving inspired the CWRU community to support a variety of student organizations and scholarship funds, with alumni accounting for 33% of the donor pool and students representing 29%. Eight of the 36 participating groups raised more than $1,000, with Case Rocket Team in the lead, securing nearly $4,000 for its program.

“We are truly thankful for all those who donated to help make Case Rocket Team reach for the stars,” said the team’s public relations manager and second-year aerospace engineering student Russell Lubin. “We hope to use these generous gifts to help fund our high-powered rocketry certification program for incoming members of all backgrounds. Through this program, we help bring hands-on STEM experiences to everyone from young aerospace engineers to first-year nursing students.”

Students in the Black Student Union pose for a photo
Black Student Union

At 70 gifts, CWRU Habitat for Humanity engaged the most donors, with other groups such as Black Student Union, CWRU EMS and the Student-Run Health Clinic not far behind. Student-need funds for various populations—including LGBTQIA+, international, law school and social work students—successfully garnered support, as did scholarship funds. One such fund is the Momentum Scholarship, which helps students cover expenses that will enhance their educational experience at CWRU, including study abroad research opportunities.

Matching gifts and challenges also played a key role in pushing donations over the top. To encourage support from past teammates and fellow alumni, former CWRU varsity volleyball player Alexandra Weber Balzer (CWR ‘00) pledged $1,000 if 80 people made gifts of any amount—and they stepped up to meet the challenge.

“Playing varsity volleyball at Case Western Reserve was a unique experience and provided lifelong friendships that I really value to this day,” said Balzer. “I want to support other women who find themselves on the path of DIII Student Athlete.”

Photo of Alexandra Weber Balzer playing volleyball while at CWRU
Alexandra Weber Balzer (right) during her playing days at CWRU

Balzer’s $1,000 donation to varsity volleyball at CWRU was nearly matched by the friends who joined her with their support. “This challenge was not just about the money,” said Balzer, “it’s about encouraging my community to give back to the places, people and programs they value—especially in unprecedented times.”

The day dedicated to radical generosity brought the CWRU community together while also teaching students valuable lessons in philanthropy. 

“Every year I am impressed by our student volunteers,” said Ayla Sweeney, director of annual giving.  “This year was no exception—they continue to inspire me with their hard work and dedication to making this world a better place.”