According to a higher education report released by sgENGAGE, alumni donors are waiting longer to give to their alma maters; the median age of first-time contributors in the top-100 category increased from 53 to 67 between 1980 and 2017. Plus, on average, donors wait 20 years before making recurring gifts.
But Victoria Wallace isn’t your average alumna.
In 2016 at age 26, just one year after completing her B.B.A. in management at Robinson, Wallace made her first gift. The generosity and frequency of Wallace’s altruism qualify her for membership in Robinson’s Dean’s Society, a group of benefactors who give $1,000 annually or a one-time $25,000 contribution. What’s more, Wallace’s employer, State Farm, meets every penny through its Matching Gift Program.
“I received scholarships to study abroad and got a lot of value from the WomenLead program,” Wallace said. “It’s important to complete the cycle: go to school, make good grades, get a great job, and then give your money away.”
Wallace participated in the first-ever cohort for WomenLead, a university-wide initiative that positions undergraduate females for leadership and professional success. Through a site visit to Coca-Cola’s headquarters, networking sessions with executives, and hands-on skill-building projects, she emerged from the program a different person. So much so that she returns to campus every year to sit on panel discussions and speak one-on-one with students.
“WomenLead represented a shift for me. For the first time, I realized I could be part of something that opens additional opportunities,” Wallace said. “Hearing from women in different stages of their careers was so encouraging and helped me build confidence. WomenLead is something I’ll always give back to.”
At State Farm, Wallace works as an IT product owner. Her passion lies in supporting young girls, particularly in the technology space. Wallace earned a Girl Scouts Gold Award when she was young. Today she volunteers for Women in Technology, a nonprofit that empowers girls and women to excel in STEAM fields, and is active in State Farm’s female-focused employee resource groups. Wallace always has offered her time, and now is able to chip in financially as well.
“It’s critical to ensure the next generation has access to opportunities we received or would have liked to receive,” Wallace said. “If you’ve ever experienced anything that was good and helpful, you should work to support it and carry that spirit forward.”