Student gift shows that small donations can have a big impact

  • June 21, 2022

By Deanna McIntyre, Manager, Donor Relations

One of the things I love about my job is hearing the story behind a donor’s gift to UFV. Often our donors are older, established in their careers, and have a lifetime of experiences behind them that drive their decision to give. But occasionally we get a gift from someone who bucks that trend. Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a new donor who is also a student at UFV.

Donations from students are unusual, for all the reasons you would expect – but mainly because most students assume that small donations don’t make an impact. But in fundraising, like other endeavours, many hands make light work. In fact, the backbone of UFV’s fundraising program are the regular monthly donations that add up over the course of a year to support scholarships, bursaries, and emergency funding.

My conversation with our newest student donor (who I’ll call Jan to respect his desire to be anonymous) shows that such gifts not only make an impact but supporting your fellow and future students can be extremely rewarding.

When I spoke with Jan, it was a few weeks before he crossed the stage to receive a well-earned Bachelor of Social Work. “Seven years ago, I was homeless,” Jan explains. That life experience, and the support he received to get to convocation day, set Jan on a path of helping others.

He started the journey by volunteering in the foster care system, working with some of the most challenging kids. “I have seen some very hard cases, kids that have been dismissed by society for a lot of reasons, but I find the work so rewarding – I love it.”

Helping kids in care led to Jan’s yearly gifts to the UFV Student Society’s Angel Tree initiative, which collects donations for holiday gifts for the children of UFV students. From there, it was a small step to donating to the University of the Fraser Valley to helping the next generation of students.

For Jan, the donations, the volunteer work, and his budding career in social services are not just about helping others. “I get a lot back – emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I can pay tribute to the people in my past who were generous with their time, experience, and money, while paying that good will forward to those who need it.”

If you would like to join the community of donors who support UFV students, you can start with a one-time donation or set up a monthly gift of as little as $5 month. To learn more, please contact me at or simply donate online.