As the university prepared for its 35th Annual Bounty of the Valley Scholarship Dinner, David Wise, vice president for Advancement, knew the goal of raising $750,000 was ambitious.
“Three quarters of a million dollars is a significant amount of money to raise at a single event, even during normal times,” said Wise. “However, the challenges of this past year have hit students especially hard, making the need for scholarships even more pronounced.”
Adding to the challenge was the event would once again have to be held remotely.
“Even though we were seeing a great deal of progress on tackling COVID-19 on a state and national level, the restrictions around large gatherings, plus our concern for the health and welfare of our students, staff and supporters, made us realize that it was entirely too early to go back to our traditional dinner and paddle raise,” said Wise.
The team put their heads together to come up with a virtual event that captured spirit of the live event.
“One of the things that we miss most is the camaraderie of being together and hearing from all of our students,” said Dana Eliason, senior development director. “Our challenge was how do we replicate this in the virtual space?”
The answer came from the students themselves.
“This year we called upon our students to take the lead on our event. Not only did they share their stories in some of our videos, two of
them, Enedeo Garza-Ramirez and Maritza Alvarez hosted the live, real-time telecast. They did an amazing job!” The response? This year’s event broke all records; $872,500 raised to support Heritage students!
“To say we are overwhelmed by the generosity of so many is an understatement,” said Wise.
“This university is truly blessed with many extremely gracious and generous donors, sponsors and friends,” said Eliason. “There were so many things that made this event special, starting with our wonderful students who graciously shared their stories and volunteered countless hours to make the evening successful. They and some added touches contributed by the community, such as the donated wine and chocolates that went out to those who RSVP’d and the special Bounty of the Valley meal that Provisions Restaurant offered made a memorable evening.”
The beauty of a virtual event, is that even if you missed it live on June 5, you can still watch it any time. Visit heritage.edu/sd2021.