by Hanna Bernett

The Fundraising Preference Group consists of the Finance, Merchandise, and Donor & Alumni Relations Committees. These committees help with THON’s fundraising efforts to ensure that THON can provide financial support for Four Diamonds families and help fund innovative research.  

Finance – Katie Griffith 

Throughout my five years at Penn State, I have been connected to the Finance Committee for THON. Whether as a Committee Member, a Gift Entry Captain, or most recently an Assistant Treasurer for THON 2023, I have gotten the opportunity to spend many hours with other Committee Members and Captains counting coin, entering checks, and contacting donors. I cherish the unique moments Finance volunteers get to work together outside of typical meetings, as it is these times when this Committee genuinely becomes a family away from home. Aside from the work leading up to THON Weekend, the feeling of connection between fellow Finance volunteers, the Four Diamonds families, and the total in the final minutes of THON is truly indescribable.

Merchandise – August Smychynsky 

If you’ve ever stopped by the THON Store, then you’ve probably fought the urge to blow your budget on the best THON gear. To learn about the behind-the-scenes creation and distribution of these awesome products, apply for the Merchandise Committee! 

“I’ve been on Merchandise for as long as I’ve gone to Penn State, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! From my time as a first-year Committee Member to my third and final year as a Merch Captain, I’ve had the time of my life running the THON Store with some of my closest friends. Working in the THON Store is a really cool opportunity unique to Merch; you get to interact with so many amazing volunteers, families, and supporters of THON while acquiring professional skills that will last a lifetime.” 

Donor & Alumni Relations – Chase Cunningham, Michael Trainor, and Alivia Jacobs 

“This will be my second year as a Donor and Alumni Relations Development Captain. The thing I love most about being a Development Captain is that we get to work with members of the THON community who may not have any previous relation to Penn State, State College, or THON but still want to be involved. We have many new initiatives planned for this upcoming year and I am excited to see our committee implement them.” – Chase 

“Donor and Alumni Relations has been my family for 4 years now! I first joined DAR Alumni Engagement as a CM my freshman year at Penn State. Joining a THON committee as a first year provided me with a sense of family and belonging when arriving at University Park, while also helping a cause close to my heart! My position this year on AE is the Alumni Campaign Coordinator! One campaign that I am particularly excited for is Alumni Wars, which will focus on alumni participating in different major THON events that are run by our committees throughout the year! Having the ability to allow alumni to stay engaged in the THON community is something that I am incredibly passionate about and cannot wait to see where it goes this year!” – Michael 

“This is my fourth year being involved with THON!  My first year I was on the Donor and Alumni Relations Committee and for the last two years I was on the Merchandise Committee.  This year I am the Local Engagement captain on the Development Committee.  I love being on Development because of the opportunity to grow and come up with my own ideas.  I enjoy being able to work with our downtown businesses and building relationships between THON and the State College community.” – Alivia