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The Rivers School’s inaugural Day of Giving, held on Tuesday, February 12, set an ambitious goal, one that would eclipse any previous such effort at the school: To garner 495 gifts – one for each currently enrolled student – in a 24-hour participation challenge. It would take effort, focus, and teamwork to get there.

At day’s end, the gift total was 645, beating that original goal by a wide margin.

“We are just thrilled by, and grateful for, the incredible generosity of the Rivers community,” said Janna Anctil, director of The Rivers Fund, who steered the team effort. Students, parents, staff, and faculty, among others, reached out to donors throughout the day, while posts on Instagram and other social media kept the community engaged and entertained.

At one point, a surprise snowstorm threatened to derail the fundraiser, with an unexpected early dismissal throwing schedules into flux. In the end, said Anctil, the snowstorm may actually have helped, as phone bank volunteers succeeded in reaching people hunkered down at home.

Providing donors with the option of giving through Venmo was clearly a game-changer, said Anctil. “The support we received from young alumni was unbelievable, and I think their willingness to give was in part because of the ease and convenience of Venmo,” she said, adding that current parents and older alums also opted to use that platform, contributing to the day’s success.

The Day of Giving raised more than $280,000 for The Rivers Fund, in donations that ranged in size from $2 to a matching gift of $50,000. The dollars are important, but even more significant was the unprecedented number of participants. “The whole community pulled together and showed us that the experience and the education we provide here really matters to them,” said Anctil. “That, to me, was the most exciting takeaway from the day.”


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