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UGA claims Beat Week victory (again)

It’s always an exciting matchup when UGA and Auburn go head-to-head, and Beat Week 2021 was no exception.

Beat Week is the philanthropic counterpart to “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” and the rules are simple: the university with the most gifts raised during the week leading up to the game wins!

Following our narrow 3,200 to 2,900 victory last season, Auburn was looking to even the series this year—and early on, it appeared they might just do it.

However, the UGA community overcame a slow start and took a Monday afternoon lead, which they never relinquished. The result was a double dose of victory for UGA on and off the field. And when the dust settled in the Gift Accounting office, the final score stood:

  • UGA–2,790
  • Auburn–2,247

A good coach always acknowledges that every win is a team effort, and that’s certainly true for Beat Week. Everyone played a role: alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of UGA!

UGA’s student body had an impressive outing worthy of SportsCenter’s Top-10 performances; over 800 students flexed their philanthropic muscles and took part in the effort!

Beat Week raised over $650,000 to over 200 fund designations across campus supporting scholarships, research, academic programming and a lot more; proving that UGA isn’t just No. 1 in the latest AP Poll, but also in generosity.

Thank you to everyone who made Beat Week a success! GO DAWGS!

Written by Evan Tighe (BSED ’08, MA ’11), Senior Director of Annual and Special Giving

A holistic Dawg

Nancy Juneau’s commitment to the University of Georgia is a way of life.

She’s a UGA grad (BSED ’82), a Georgia Bulldogs sports fan and the mother of a UGA alumna. Her company, Juneau Construction, helped grow UGA’s campus and build new residence halls on East Campus. And when she became a UGA Foundation Trustee, she visited every UGA school and college to meet their development directors to learn about what mattered to their area of campus. She followed those discussions by making separate donations in support of each and every school/college. And then, she and her husband, Les, funded four Georgia Commitment Scholarships, and she mentors those scholarship recipients. “There are so many ways you can make a difference!” she always says.

Underscoring her commitment, Nancy also is a member of the Heritage Society. She included language in her will that specifies a gift to the University of Georgia Foundation as part of her estate plan. “Paying it forward and giving others opportunity. This is what is important to me,” Nancy explains. “UGA made it easy and personal.”

Nancy and Les Juneau

What it means to give holistically

A ‘blended gift’ combines annual giving with a planned gift, allowing you to see the impact of your philanthropy today while continuing to support the university’s mission well into the future. The planned giving team in UGA’s Office of Gift and Estate Planning are happy to show you how to give in the way that is most advantageous to you. Just a few minutes of your time can ensure your generosity has the greatest impact now and long after you’re gone.

 

Five things you didn’t know: Institute for Disaster Management

The Institute for Disaster Management, housed in UGA’s College of Public Health, is committed to solving grand challenges on the local, national and global scale by assisting more than 140 hospitals, 100 long-term care facilities and 500 community partners across Georgia in developing emergency response plans.

We sat down with Dr. Curt Harris (BS ’03, PhD ’08), associate professor and director of the institute, to learn how his team is paving the way in disaster training and how additional funding propels his team’s work forward.

The Institute for Disaster Management (IDM) facility boasts a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center.

The IDM recently moved into the Commissary, a facility on the UGA Health Sciences Campus, which will allow it to expand its research, teaching and service initiatives for community resilience in crisis. The center’s labs and workspaces support students, faculty and disaster management practitioners from around the world.

As the IDM recruits more faculty, staff and students, it needs to secure an unused portion of the building for further expansion. This would include the installation of a simulation center to train students and community partners in scenarios that mimic real-world disaster situations.

“Expansion would allow us to house more faculty and staff and create a simulation center where we would be one of the foremost disaster trainers, not only for the state of Georgia but potentially in the entire United States,” said Harris.

Multi-disciplinary faculty and staff lead the institute.

IDM researchers have an array of expertise ranging from radiation health and mass casualty simulation to psychology and public policy. But they all have a common mission: ensuring that when disaster strikes, help follows.

The collaborative team at IDM is dedicated to furthering research, knowledge and training as it relates to emergency management.

Recent research and training focuses included:

  • Community Disaster Preparedness: IDM designs and implements disaster exercises for hospitals, nursing homes and other health care organizations across the state.
  • Nuclear Attack Simulations: For decades, IDM scientists have conducted research on the consequences of nuclear detonation in urban areas, with a focus on the outcomes of medical casualty distributions.
  • Ebola patient full-scale exercise: IDM tested the notification processes, coordination decisions and resources needed to move patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola using both air (simulated) and ground transportation resources. The methods practiced can be applied to other cases of infectious disease outbreak, like COVID-19.

The IDM was awarded a three-year grant funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Civil Monetary Penalty funds (and extended for another year due to how well-received it’s been).

In 2018, the IDM used the grant to kickstart its Georgia Long Term Care Emergency Preparedness Educational Program (GA LTCEPEP). The mission of the program is to provide preparedness and disaster exercise training to certified caregivers and administrators across the state.

Now in its fourth year, the LTCEP has trained over 1,200 staff members, representing over 80% of Georgia’s certified long-term care facilities. The IDM also delivers emergency preparedness kits (filled with items valued at $1,000 per kit) to participating nursing homes.

IDM's emergency preparedness kit

The IDM delivers these emergency preparedness kits to long-term care facilities across the state.

“The kits are filled with really good resources, like emergency blankets and car battery chargers, that can be used in a disaster setting,” said Harris.

IDM offers one of the only Master of Public Health degrees with a concentration in disaster management.

The IDM teaches courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, offering a master’s concentration in disaster management, graduate and undergraduate certificates and an undergraduate minor. The goal is to broaden the emergency response workforce. IDM graduates provide service and leadership in public health around the globe.

“Speaking from the heart, I can say that I moved 800+ miles, away from friends and family, to a state where I didn’t know a single soul or the culture just to come to this program. I researched every school that offered both an MPH and a disaster management curriculum. The University of Georgia’s Institute for Disaster Management was the best in the country for what I wanted to study,” said Christopher Russo (MPH ’19).

The IDM focuses on experiential learning and gives students the opportunity to see, touch and wear equipment needed in the field.

“We provide our students with internships all over the world. We’ve had students go to places like Kenya, Australia and Israel to collaborate on international disaster management projects,” said Harris.

IDM led a community-wide effort to combat COVID-19.

During the pandemic, IDM faculty and staff participated on a COVID-19 task force and donated the majority of their personal protective equipment supplies to response efforts.

“We’re constantly extending resources through training, whether it’s training of our students or community-level training, and we don’t always have the ability to recoup those supplies,” said Harris.

Private support is essential to the IDM’s success.

The IDM relies on donations and contributions from the community in order to ensure a safer tomorrow. The Institute of Disaster Management Fund supports opportunities for special programming, conference attendance, recruitment, professional education, and overall enhancement of the Institute.

Pride Month Spotlight: UGA’s LGBT Resource Center

The University of Georgia aims to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds. There are a variety of resources available to students seeking support and a community on campus, including the LGBT Resource Center. We sat down with Chad Mandala, the center’s director, during Pride Month to learn more about how his team supports UGA students throughout the year.

History

The LGBT Resource Center was established in 2005 to serve as a safe space for LGBT-identified students and their allies. The center is committed to supporting and affirming every member of the UGA community inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.

The LGBT Resource Center mission is to foster self-discovery and acceptance in a holistic, supportive environment. Located in Memorial Hall in the heart of campus, the center houses an extensive library with entertaining and educational films, books, pamphlets, and health resources. Students enjoy the center’s lounge area to relax, socialize and study between classes.

“It’s a community that has been like a safe haven,” said Tyquavious Kelley (BS ’21), a former student who valued the center.

From empowering students to educating the community, the LGBT Resource Center at UGA ensures that no Dawg barks alone.

“No matter what a student is going through, we are here to remind them that they are loved,” said Mandala.

Programs and resources

The LGBT Resource Center offers resources and programs to meet the needs of the LGBT and ally communities through advocacy, education, and support. Signature events like Sugar Rush and Lavender Graduation advocate for a safer, more equitable climate on campus. Educational programs provide opportunities for the UGA community to address the complicated issues that surround sexual and gender identity. Some of these programs include the student-run radio show, Queeries, and the Lunch with Leaders program, which coordinates a lunch for students and an LGBT-identified leader in the community who shares their coming-out story and career trajectory.

Chad shared a bit about the signature events his team hosts:

  • Sugar Rush: Sugar Rush is a social each September during which first-year students make campus connections over candy. It’s a “sweet” welcome for the newest generation of Bulldogs to the LGBT Resource Center.
  • PRISM: This dialogue group for students who identify as LGBTQ people of color was developed in partnership with the Office of Multicultural Services and Programs to recognize and address intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity.
  • Lavender Graduation: Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration to acknowledge the achievements and contributions of LGBT students on campus. This positive recognition will hopefully encourage graduating students to maintain a connection to UGA, its students, and fellow alumni beyond commencement.
  • Safe Space: This program is a 3.5 hour training for faculty, staff, and students who are interested in learning about gender and sexual identity, homophobia, heterosexism, and how they can support and become an ally for the LGBT community.

Support the LGBT community

The LGBT Resource Center relies on charitable donations to support the rapidly growing student population at UGA.

“As we continue to evolve, we need help. The ability to grow is dependent on alumni who believe in us. Every gift has the ability to transform what we are able to do,” said Mandala.

By donating to the LGBT Resource Center Endowment, you can help to end discrimination and promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality on campus. According to Mandala, the fund is one of the most effective ways to remove barriers and open doors for the next generation of Bulldogs because it provides general support for the center, including program expenses, guest speakers, conference expenses, emergency funding to support students in crisis situations, travel, equipment, supplies, etc.

 

Every day is Arbor Day for Select Trees

Arbor Day celebrates nature and encourages people around the world to plant trees. For Select Trees, though, planting trees is a year-round event.  

Select Trees produces high-quality sustainable landscape shade trees in the Southeast and is a wholesaler of Select Sustainable Trees. Curious where you can see some of these trees for yourself? Look no further than UGA’s beautiful campus. Through their tree trust, the company donated more than 770 large caliper oak trees to UGA.  

We talked with Corey Browning, the vice president of Select Trees, to learn more about all things trees.  

Corey BrowningWhat is your favorite part of the planting and growing process of trees?  

My favorite part is probably selecting new cultivars. So as part of what we do at Select Trees, we also have a sister company called Tree Introductions. We find new trees to clone and make new cultivars, and the process of doing that is just evaluating trees in the landscape and seeing what’s working and what’s not working. 

What is one important thing you want people to know about the process of selecting trees that they might now know? 

I think the most important thing that maybe is overlooked is choosing the right tree for the right place. For instance, people plant Crape Myrtles because they like the flower but then they may not realize that it’s a tree and it’s going to get 30 or 40 feet tall. And so, they get a landscape company to come through and prune it back really hard so that it fits in the space. So, it’s really important to look at the space that you have and determine, is it adequate for the trees that you really want to plant? 

What is the biggest misconception you hear the most about the process?  

I think the biggest misconception would be just what a tree requires to be established. Oftentimes, for what we do at Select Trees, we’re harvesting trees so that means we’re taking them out of the ground and moving them to another place. And so, trees are not bulletproof. They need help, in that first year especially, to get established. 

Where on UGA’s campus can students and faculty enjoy the trees Select Trees has planted?  

One of the places on campus that stands out is the Reed Hall alley behind the stadium. At the intramural fields just above the train tracks, there’s a really nice row of Hightower Willow Oaks. At the women’s sports complex, there are quite a few of our trees, and really just all over campus through the donation process. There have been different spots all over campus that have benefited from the donation. 

IM Fields Tree Progression

Intramural Fields Tree Progression

Do you have a favorite tree to plant? If so, what is it? 

My favorite tree — and it’s one that we’ve sent quite a few of to campus — is called Highbeam Overcup Oak. It’s a cultivar of Overcup that we introduced about 25 years ago, and it’s just a really great native tree that not only looks fantastic, but it has a lot of environmental benefits as well. 

Do Select Trees have anything planned for Arbor Day? 

It’s just another day unfortunately because propagation season kicks off really quick, so we’re getting all of our greenhouses and things like that set up to start new trees. 

 

UGA Class of 2021 sets new Senior Signature participation record

The University of Georgia Class of 2021 set a Senior Signature record with 3,009 students making a gift to the university prior to graduation. This is the fifth consecutive year that the graduating class broke the preceding class’s participation record and the highest donor count in the program’s 30-year history.

Students are asked to contribute to UGA through the Senior Signature program during their final year on campus. In appreciation for giving back to the university, students’ names are included on a plaque in Tate Plaza in the heart of campus.

“This record is a true sign of the senior class’s Bulldog tenacity,” said Kevin Nwogu, Student Alumni Council president-elect who also helped lead this year’s campaign. “They managed challenges presented by the pandemic alongside preparing for graduation—and still made room to give back to their soon-to-be alma mater.”

Senior Signature allows students to select any fund on campus to receive a portion of their gift—and students often select a program or department that enhanced their college experience. This year’s minimum donation was $30 in honor of Senior Signature’s 30th anniversary.

This year, the Student Alumni Council, which educates the student body on how philanthropy at UGA improves lives, launched a new component to Senior Signature in which donors to the program vote on a student organization to receive a grant from the Senior Signature endowed fund. The hope is that this new initiative will build a ‘philanthropic cycle’ in which students donate, direct and receive funds—building an understanding of the power of private support at universities like UGA.

Senior Signature was established in 1991. Since then, more than 40,000 students have donated to UGA through the program—their names still visible on the plaques in Tate Plaza.

Learn more about Senior Signature at alumni.uga.edu/seniorsignature.

Isakson gift caps $4.5 million fundraising effort for Parkinson’s research chair

The University of Georgia’s campaign to create the John H. “Johnny” Isakson Chair for Parkinson’s Research and Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Eminent Scholar position reached its goal of $4.5 million in private commitments, and the final contributor was the former U.S. Senator for whom the chair is named.

“We are deeply honored that Senator Isakson (BBA ’66) has made this commitment to the university. His decades of service to our state and nation and his support of UGA and higher education inspired this entire effort,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We also are very grateful for the generous gifts from additional individuals and organizations that are supporting this endowed position.”

The Isakson Chair and GRA Eminent Scholar position will help UGA attract a leading authority on brain disorders—with an emphasis on Parkinson’s, with which Isakson was diagnosed in 2015—to engage in teaching, research and public service. Fundraising for the chair attracted a variety of donors including individuals, businesses, foundations and more.

“I’m very proud to play a part in this effort,” said Isakson. “Of course, I’m honored that this position would carry my name, but more than anything, I am glad to see so many willing to give so much for this important cause. My deepest gratitude goes out to everyone who gave.”

A major supporter of the Isakson Chair and GRA Eminent Scholar position is the Georgia Research Alliance. GRA grows Georgia’s economy by expanding university research capacity and seeding and shaping startup companies around inventions and discoveries. UGA currently has 18 GRA Eminent Scholars on faculty, and a 19th is set to join the university in fall 2021.

The Isakson Chair and GRA Eminent Scholar will also be the director of UGA’s forthcoming Center for Brain Science and Neurological Disorders. Fundraising efforts are underway for the center, which will leverage UGA’s broad, comprehensive strengths to create an interdisciplinary program that will expand opportunities for collaborative and innovative solutions.

“I think the supporters of both the Isakson Chair and GRA Eminent Scholar and this new center understand the unique position UGA occupies and the potential for great work that comes with that,” said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations. “It’s very exciting, seeing these things come together and knowing that all the great work to come will honor a great man.”

Johnny Isakson

Isakson graduated from UGA in 1966 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in real estate. He met his future wife, Dianne, while both were UGA students, and they married in 1968. The year prior, he began working for Atlanta real estate firm Northside Realty, eventually serving as its president from 1979 to 1999.

His political career began in 1976, when he was elected to the first of seven terms in the Georgia House of Representatives. He was Republican minority leader in the Georgia House from 1983 to 1990. In 1993, he was elected to the Georgia State Senate, serving there until he was appointed chair of the state Board of Education by Gov. Zell Miller in 1996.

Isakson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999 and served as a U.S. representative until he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2016. Among his duties in the U.S. Senate, he served as chair of the Committee on Veterans Affairs and chair of the Select Committee on Ethics.

After his 2015 diagnosis with Parkinson’s, Isakson continued to work in public service until his health compelled him to resign from the Senate on Dec. 31, 2019. In 2017, Isakson received the Fox Foundation’s Parkinson’s Advocacy Award for his work to improve the lives of people living with the disease and for his advocacy in funding new treatments.

New meal plan scholarship named for “Miss Sandra”

Sandra Patterson, the beloved “Miss Sandra” to scores of University of Georgia students who frequented the dining halls where she worked, will have a meal plan scholarship named in her honor, following a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $25,000.

More than 600 donors contributed $20,000 to the campaign, which ran in December of last year—Patterson retired the month before—and asked donors to celebrate her by giving to support food security at UGA. After the close of the campaign, UGA President Jere W. Morehead added an additional $5,500 from the President’s Venture Fund.

“This is such an honor,” said Patterson. “I’m so proud of what these donors have done, and I am so happy that my name could help people to give back and help other people.”

Initially, campaign donations were to be routed to the Let All The Big Dogs Eat (LATBDE) Meal Plan Scholarship. LATBDE, a donor-supported scholarship directed by UGA Student Affairs in partnership with UGA Dining Services, awards meal plans to multiple UGA students each fall and spring semester as part of UGA’s food scholarship initiative.

But following the campaign’s overwhelming response and Morehead’s contribution, the decision was made to create a stand-alone fund that would simultaneously contribute to the food scholarship initiative by providing additional meal plans for students and honor Patterson’s outsized impact on campus: the Miss Sandra Patterson Meal Plan Scholarship.

Patterson’s UGA career spanned more than 30 years, and she established herself as a campus legend by offering welcome, comfort and, most notably, hugs to students in UGA’s dining halls. Donors to the “Say Thank You To Miss Sandra” campaign were invited to offer personal messages along with their donation, and many took that opportunity to share the deep impact Patterson made on their UGA experience.

“I would trek all the way across campus for lunch just to get a hug from Miss Sandra,” wrote John Bowden, a 2013 graduate. “She always knew how to make a bad or stressful day so much better with love and kindness.”

Even once COVID-19 hampered the personal contact for which she is known, she offered students elbow bumps and kind words from behind a face covering. In October, she greeted graduating students arriving for UGA’s rescheduled spring 2020 commencement ceremony from a safe distance with “virtual hugs.”

That kind of dedication and care was typical of Miss Sandra’s career, who corrects herself when she begins to say, “it was a great job.”

“It wasn’t a job. It was just a second home to go to each day with all my kids there.”

Now, thanks to the scholarship that bears her name, she’ll be able to take care of her kids for years to come.

$1 million gift to promote Terry College Sustainability Initiative

The University of Georgia received a $1 million pledge to the Terry College of Business to launch the college’s new Sustainability Initiative and fund faculty support for the endeavor.

The pledge by the family of Joanna and Stuart Brown of Telluride, Colorado, will help attract, retain and support a scholar who serves as a champion for sustainable development instruction. The endowment will provide financial resources to launch the environmental initiative and annual funds to support programs at Terry for years to come.

Stuart Brown serves as a director of Brown-Forman Corp., one of the largest American-owned companies in the spirits and wine business. He graduated from UGA in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in history, and Joanna Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1987. Their son, Stuart Brown Jr., graduated in 2014 with a degree in political science.

“I have been involved with many sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance initiatives at the company,” Stuart Brown said. “It is important to us to be a sustainability leader in the beverage alcohol industry, as well as in corporate America. As Brown-Forman celebrates 150 years of business excellence, we want to encourage Terry students to embrace the vitally important values of sustainability.”

Plans for Terry’s Sustainability Initiative include hiring faculty, expanding course offerings, launching a new undergraduate area of emphasis in sustainable development and supporting new experiential learning opportunities, said Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the Terry College of Business. The Terry College is focused on securing additional funding for a sustainability speaker series, research support, faculty-led study away programming and internship opportunities.

“With this important gift, we hope to advance a culture of sustainability within the college that transcends one course or a single major,” Ayers said. “Our goal for sustainability initiatives is to educate and inspire students to become ethical leaders who create sustainable businesses and develop innovative models that transform business in all sectors.”

Brown-Forman was founded in 1870 and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. It employs more than 4,700 people worldwide, with about 1,300 located in Louisville. Brown-Forman sells its products globally and has more than 25 brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester and Herradura, in its portfolio of wines and spirits.

To learn more about Terry’s new Sustainability Initiative, please contact Kathy Ortstadt in the Terry Development and Alumni Relations Office at ortstadt@uga.edu.

Bulldogs help music community in time of need

Last year was uncharted territory for musicians, music venues and the overall music community. They struggled without the ability to host live music events and festivalsbut a few UGA alumni are committed to assisting the industry weather the storm on a local, state and national level. 

Keepin’ it local

Athens is known for its vibrant music scene. Most of the musicians at the heart of that scene have benefited from rehearsing at Nuçi’s Space, a nonprofit musician’s resource center that has been around for 20 years and is led by Executive Director Bob Sleppy (BS ’05, MBA ’10). Immediately after COVID-19 forced schools and businesses to shut downNuçi’s Space established the Garrie Vereen Memorial Emergency Relief Fund to support musicians, artists, venue staff, crew employees, and everyone else who makes Athens’s well-known entertainment venues thrive. The fund raised $10,000 within four days and distributed over $130,000 in emergency financial aid to 310+ individuals in the Athens-area entertainment industry. While working from home, the Nuçi’s Space staff made over 600 phone calls to check in on fellow musicians who usually frequent Nuçi’s Space, letting them know about the fund and providing encouragement.  

Nuci's Space team

Across the state 

The Georgia Music Foundation Board of Directors continues to distribute their annual grants and also approved the creation of the Georgia Music Relief Fund to award grants to those in the state’s music community who have been negatively affected by venue closures and tour cancellations. The board includes three UGA graduates, including Board Chair Dallas Davidson (M 00), George Fontaine, Jr. (ABJ ’04) and Russell Bennett (BSA ’00)The Savannah Music Festival (SMF) is a multi-year grant recipient of the foundation and while the SMF was postponed in 2020, Managing Director Erin Tatum (AB ’08, BBA ’08, MPA ’14) noted that they were able to pivot and continue engaging patrons. The SMF is hosted over 17 days each year and showcases hundreds of musicians from around the world. The festival provides free music education to 10,000+ students in coastal Georgia and South Carolina schools. Since the pandemic, SMF has taken its Musical Explorers program for K-12 virtual and is now providing music education to children nationwide.

A national focus 

MusiCares, the nonprofit arm of the Recording Academy, is led by UGA graduate Debbie Carrol (MSW ’93). Its mission is to “provide resources to music people in times of need.” By the end of 2020, MusiCares distributed over $20 million in assistance. After launching an online application in March, Debbie’s team of 12 was manually vetting 500600 applications per week and distributed $1,000 grants to 20,000 individuals nationwide. MusiCares was thrilled to see 1,600+ artists donate to the cause along with a number of well-known companies within the music and streaming services industriesIn addition to providing financial assistance, MusiCares provided additional support by conducting a mental health survey and created virtual programming that included topics from adjusting to life off the road to how to incorporate mediation into your day. Due to her impressive leadership during the challenges of the pandemicPollstar named Debbie to its ‘2020 Impact 50’ list, which honors music executives who are improving the live entertainment industry.  

Recording Academy Musicares digital sign

 There are countless others in the Bulldog family who are doing great things to keep the music industry alive and well until live music venues reopen, tours can recommence, and those working in the industry are back on their feet. We’re proud of all those alumni who stepped up last year and continue to do so … because when Bulldogs come together, they change the world.  

UGA’s Music Business Program prepares the next generation of change-makers in the music industry. Learn more about the program at the video below. Want to help enhance its offerings? Make a gift today!