Student secures $10,000 donation for Red Cross

Patty Vaughan

Thanks to the efforts of one UA student, the University Community Service Center presented a $10,000 donation to the West Alabama Chapter of the American Red Cross Tuesday.

The band Three Doors Down’s charity The Better Life Foundation gave the donation. The Better Life Foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping children and young adults. The donation will go directly to supporting the crisis in Haiti.

Tray Smith, a freshman majoring in economics, secured the donation and was the point person in presenting the donation.

“The point of it is to get more student participation by bringing a celebrity sponsor on board so we can say, ‘Hey, look, Three Doors Down is being very charitable, and they have agreed to make an extremely generous contribution,’” Smith said. “We hope that this will encourage students to jump on board and continue to donating to the Haiti relief because it’s a critical need.”

Josh Burford, coordinator of freshman community outreach in the community service center, said the total fundraising, including the donation from Three Doors Down, has accumulated to more than $12,000.

“The donation that they are receiving is the largest single donation that they have ever received from a student in the SEC,” Burford said. “We had no idea. It’s not the end of our Haiti outreach, but this is the end of our philanthropic part.”

The donation first came about when Smith and others tried to arrange for Three Doors Down to come to the University for a relief concert. However, due to the fact that they were participating in the Winter Olympics and producing a new album, this proved impossible.

“[Three Doors Down] regretted not being able to come, but they generously said that they would make a donation and they ended up making a donation that was much larger than any of us really expected,” Smith said. “It worked out well so well for the University because they were so generous, and we think that’s going to have a really positive impact on our fundraising efforts.”

Along with this donation, there have been two ways that students can donate on campus to the relief fund for Haiti. Students can either send a text message or they can swipe the ACTcard at the Ferguson Center.

“All the money that we have raised from the ACTcard swipes has directly gone to the Red Cross, because that’s just who we deal with at the University and have a good relationship with,” Smith said. “Three Doors Down just wanted to sponsor our efforts, and because all of our money is going to the Red Cross, we also got them to make their donation to the Red Cross.”

Burford said the committee had set a period of time to raise money, but this new donation has changed some things.

“Now that we have received this large donation, we actually think we may have to extend that because I imagine once students see what happens, they’re going to want to participate in this way,” Burford said. “We’re looking at adopting a town with a nonprofit in Haiti that would be in a sense a sister city project. We’re also looking at doing some more educational sessions about Haiti. This could very well be a push towards more philanthropic giving, and we’re totally okay with that.”

Smith said he hopes that this donation from Three Doors Down will help spark the need for donations from everyone across campus.

“Public service is a crucial mission at this University, and I think that it’s very important for students to take a role in relieving the situation in Haiti whether it’s just making a $5 donation or whatever, because I think it’s very important that we all live up to our social and moral responsibilities along with the University tradition,” Smith said.