CORVALLIS, Ore. – More than 3,200 donors have given over $1.3 million to Beavers Care, a fundraising initiative serving members of the Oregon State University community who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a combination of federal CARES Act funding, Beavers Care gifts and other sources, OSU has provided emergency support to more than 5,100 students, faculty and staff since the public health crisis began.

More than 700 employees were among the donors to Beavers Care. The effort saw 100% participation from faculty and staff who serve on the President’s Cabinet, the Council of Deans, the Provost’s Senior Leadership Team, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. Additionally, every staff member from the OSU Foundation and OSU Alumni Association made a gift, and OSU Athletics staff and head coaches contributed to programs supporting student-athletes.

“It’s clear that Beavers care deeply for each other and that spirit is what makes OSU an extraordinary place and a resilient community,” said OSU President F. King Alexander. “I am grateful to members of Beaver Nation who have helped ensure that students can continue to stay on track toward earning their degrees during the disruption of COVID-19.”

A group of OSU Foundation trustees challenged other volunteer leaders to support the fundraising initiative. Current and former board members of the OSU Foundation, the OSU Alumni Association and the university’s board of trustees responded by contributing nearly $260,000 to Beavers Care.

“When the pandemic hit, Oregon State University supporters immediately began asking how they could help,” said Shawn L. Scoville, president of the OSU Foundation, which led Beavers Care. “We knew the need would be great and that we had to be ambitious. I am particularly grateful for the support from faculty and staff, university leaders and volunteers, which speaks volumes about OSU’s culture and inspired further giving from members of our community.”

Many OSU students lost employment as private sector businesses and university services closed, shrinking their income available to pay for tuition and living expenses. At the same time, they faced extra expenses, including unexpected travel and the need to acquire computers and Internet access to take classes remotely.

OSU students, faculty and staff are still experiencing financial challenges related to the pandemic and, more recently, the wildfires. Donors who give to Beavers Care continue to make a difference. OSU students who need access to resources can contact the Office of Financial Aid at financial.aid@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-2241, or their college advising office.

Meet a few Beavers Care recipients:

Kolton Vickers of Salem is a 2020 College of Forestry graduate and firefighter with the Oregon Department of Forestry. He has been working on the Brattain Fire in southern Oregon. “I want to say thank you to the people who gave. To donate means more than just paying someone’s bills. You’re giving someone’s life back.” Read more about his story in the fall 2020 issue of the Oregon Stater magazine.

Leah Mehl-Laituri of Atlanta, Georgia, is a senior majoring in natural resources and sustainability through OSU Ecampus. “I have always had to carefully calculate each term how many classes I can afford. When my husband was laid off because of COVID-19, I was the only person paying for our rent, utilities and groceries. Without Beavers Care, I would not have been able to stay in school.”

Michael Boles from Salem is a senior majoring in business administration at OSU-Cascades. “Since OSU moved to remote instruction, I relied on my laptop to stream class via Zoom as well as work on individual and group assignments. Adjusting to new means of learning was fairly smooth until my laptop screen cracked. Beavers Care allowed me to start the process of getting it repaired.”

Thao Trinh of Aloha is a senior majoring in economics. “I am 100% supporting myself financially, so losing my job due to COVID-19 brought a lot of stress. I’m grateful because the support I received allowed me to focus on my education instead of worrying if I can afford rent next month.” 

The OSU Foundation

About the OSU Foundation: The Foundation is a nonprofit organization that partners with Oregon State University to engage the OSU community, inspire investment, and steward resources to enhance the university’s excellence and impact. Annual fundraising totals have averaged more than $100 million for the last five years, placing the OSU Foundation among top performing like organizations nationally. The Foundation also manages an endowment valued at more than $600 million that supports OSU students, faculty, and programs.

Story By: 

Cathleen Hockman-Wert

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