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A Record-Breaking ROAR Day

ROAR Day 2020 was one for the books! Nearly 600 donors—students, alumni, employees, parents, and friends—rallied together to give a record-breaking $200,000 for the Bethel Fund and the new Student Emergency Fund to support students in need.

By Katie Johnson ’19, content specialist

April 27, 2020 | 12:15 p.m.

Roar Day 2020

Nearly 600 donors rallied together to give a record-breaking $200,000 for the Bethel Fund and the new Student Emergency Fund.

ROAR Day 2020 rose above all expectations. With all the sudden life-changes for students, faculty, and staff members due to COVID-19, Bethel had to adapt the original ROAR Day plans as well. This year donors had the option to give to the Bethel Fund in support of Royals to come and the Student Emergency Fund to impact students in need right now. The plan was to deliberately strip down the day of blitz-giving, focusing less on pushing for one specific goal and rather asking donors to do what they could for the Bethel community abruptly spread across the country. The ROAR Day team planned for a few match gifts and deliberate social media engagement.

Bethel did not plan for the previous donation record to not only be broken, but doubled. The Office of Development did not plan for nearly 600 donors to show up in support for Bethel students. The Office of Marketing and Communications did not plan for their posts to be shared and retweeted about 1,286 times across Bethel’s social media platforms. 

And yet, numerous people showed up, eager to support Bethel. Hearts for current students and Royals to come are big and generous, and our gratitude cannot be measured, for you have rendered us speechless.

ROAR Day donors, thank you.

The day started with a $5,000 match from President Jay and Barb Barnes, who have spent years supporting Bethel students in a variety of ways. However, before the ROAR Day team even announced their gift on social media, it had been matched. And that was just the beginning.

Donors matched a $6,000 gift within 10 minutes a few hours later. They crushed a $20,000 match within two hours. They engaged with the Bethel community online, posting pictures of their families decked out in Bethel gear and sharing Bethel’s posts with their family and friends. Bethel knows that there are over 50,000 Royals around the world, and they were ROARing in real time.

Here’s what some of the anonymous ROARers had to say about why they gave to Bethel:

“I loved my experience at Bethel—back in the golden days of 1980-84! From the positive Christ-like atmosphere to the caring professors, staff, and coaches to the fun student body—I wouldn't trade those years for anything. I made lifelong friends there who continue to make a positive impact on my life even today. I'm so grateful for the strong biblical foundation Bethel gives its students.”  

“My kids dreamed of going to Bethel, but as cross-cultural workers, we didn't have the resources to make that happen. I challenged them both to follow their dreams and watch God do His thing. Both of them were blessed beyond belief by the generosity of Bethel donors—we have been amazed at God's provision through different scholarships, the Bethel Fund and other help that has made their education possible. I am grateful to Bethel and wanted to give back, even if it’s just a little bit for now.”

“Bethel was my second home for 3 1/2 great years of college, where I was able to make lifelong friends, spend time abroad immersing myself in other cultures, and developing great relationships with professors and teammates. No matter where life takes me, Bethel will always be special to me and my family!”

— Anonymous Donor

 “For many, many reasons—too many to put into words—but mostly out of gratitude for what Bethel has done for me (as a student and employee) and my family (my wife and both daughters are alumni) over the years! Bethel changed my life, and I want the same for future students.”

The day ended with another $5,000 match from Jay and Barb—one not initially planned. They were so inspired by the Bethel community that they decided to offer another match in gratitude. The ROAR Day team called it the “Late Night DC Challenge with Jay and Barb” in honor of their serving cinnamon rolls to students during a final’s week event.

“We give because we love Bethel,” Jay and Barb said. “When we see God at work in the lives of our students, raising the trajectories of their lives, our hearts overflow! We are thankful for the work done by our faculty and staff. God is at work in them and through them. We are blown away by the generosity of the Bethel family this ROAR Day! It is a privilege to be part of it. Thank you!”

At Bethel University, we are called to more. 

ROAR Day is one day of giving toward the Bethel community, and we appreciate everything you did in support of Bethel students. There are also numerous opportunities all year long to give toward your favorite aspects of Bethel, if you feel inspired to donate. We’re honored to call you Royals.

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