Indiana State University sophomore Grace Hann had just $5 to spare, but she wanted to do her part to assist other students as part of ISU's Give to Blue Day 24-hour fundraising effort today.

She did so at Hulman Memorial Students Union, just after a Give to Blue Day pep rally had concluded.

"I watched a video about one of my teaching assistants helped by a Bridge the Gap scholarship," said Hann, who is from Peru, Indiana. Bridge the Gap is a new program started last year that supports students who have financial needs. 

Today is ISU's second annual Give to Blue Day. Last year's inaugural event raised $436,243, with 1,691 separate donors from Terre Haute to Australia; it was the largest single-day fundraiser in university history.

The goal this year is 1,865 donors, which coincides with the year Indiana State University was founded. The university did not set a dollar goal.

As of 2:50 p.m., the university was well on its way toward reaching its donor goal. Leaderboards showed it had already reached 1,211 donors and raised $359,631, with another nine hours to go.

The emphasis isn't on how much people give, but that they do give. "We’re trying to create a culture of giving back to ISU ... It’s less about what you give and more about the fact you are giving back to support ISU," said Andrea Angel, chief executive officer of the ISU Foundation and vice president for university advancement.

All supporters of Indiana State — whether alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends — are invited to make a contribution of any amount.

Give to Blue Day "is of utmost importance for ISU. It supports our students, who have critical needs to be able to graduate and walk across the stage at commencement. But not only that, it supports programs we offer, our faculty, our staff. It's for everyone here on campus," Angel said.

On Give to Blue Day, there is a special emphasis on reaching new donors, young alums and students.

ISU President Deborah Curtis the 24-hour fundraising event is important "because this a real, literal expression of people's support for this wonderful university and the mission we have here. We can't do it without the support of our donors. Most of them are alumni like me who are excited to say, 'I want to give back to a place that gave so much to me'."

One of the priority areas is the Bridge the Gap Fund, which assists students who have a financial barrier and may not be able to complete college as a result. "We've had a great response to that scholarship," Curtis said.

Last year, Bridge the Gap assisted 68 students and enabled them to continue their education; students received an average scholarship of about $1,100.

While there are priority areas for giving, donors can contribute in whatever area they choose under a category titled, "Your choice." Other areas include all the colleges; Sycamore Athletics; fraternity and sorority life; student affairs and initiatives; community engagement; the Charles Brown African American Cultural Center, and several others.

People can donate online by going to indstate.edu/GiveToBlue or by stopping in at the ISU Foundation Office, located at 30 N. Fifth St. The office will be staffed until midnight. For questions or information, people can call University Advancement at 812-237-6100.

People also will be able to follow updates through social media by using #GiveToBlueDay.

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