As a way to give back to its students and the community, the Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation hosted its first-ever Give Day, with raising almost $60,000 — triple the original goal of $20,000.

Give Day was organized as an opportunity for the DSU Heritage Foundation to raise scholarships funds for DSU students. The foundation partnered with the Goodall family on Nov. 16 for an all-day affair, two weeks prior to the national Giving Tuesday, which takes place Nov. 30. As a way to say thank you to the community for their generosity, the foundation will help fund the delivery of hot meals to Dickinson’s elderly population and craft holiday cards to distribute to the residential homes in the community on Nov. 30.

Ty Orton, executive director of the DSU Heritage Foundation, said DSU Give Day was a smashing success as they nearly doubled their goal by raising $59,064. The theme was “Together, Hawks make a difference,” and Orton said that theme proved true on Tuesday.

Orton said the initial goal was to raise $20,000 with an additional $10,000 in pledged matching funds from a group of five donors. The group included Hank and Susan Biesiot, Steve and Marivern Easton and another individual who wished to remain anonymous.

“The vibe was just electric all day long. There were students running around. There were alumni and board members constantly running around. The place was vibrant with all sorts of enthusiasm and pride in DSU,” Orton said. “It was a great event.”

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Retired DSU Football Coach Hank Biesiot handed out mugs with his picture on them donated by TMI Systems during the breakfast drive, which Orton said were a big hit. Several area businesses pitched in to help. Baker Boy gave DSU donuts for the breakfast drive, The Hub Convenience Stores provided sandwiches for lunch and Papa John’s donated pizza for dinner. All three were drive-thru events. Funds supported all types of scholarships, including academic, business, athletic and need-based financial aid. Orton said donors were able to choose which university department their money was given to.

“It was a tremendous event. We thank the community and all the efforts of the foundation board and staff to make this possible,” Orton said, adding that DSU Heritage Foundation Project Coordinator Myren Moore was the driving force behind the fundraiser, and that he was blown away by what Moore accomplished.

Members of the DSU Heritage Foundation use a poster to track their fundraising progress on Tuesday. (Contributed photo / Kelly Richardson)
Members of the DSU Heritage Foundation use a poster to track their fundraising progress on Tuesday. (Contributed photo / Kelly Richardson)

Moore said he was apprehensive because he had never led a fundraising project like this, especially one of that scale. But he said Orton was encouraging and had “an extreme amount of confidence in me.” He conducted extensive research to bring it all together.

“So I spent a year looking at different schools, emailing different schools and looking at ways to bring Give Day to Dickinson and make it fit,” Moore said. “I sat down with our marketing consultant (Kelly Richardson). She saw my vision, and she helped me make it what it was on Nov. 16.”

It was a community effort and there were a lot of moving parts that made it successful, Moore said, adding that people were there from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“The Blue Hawk Community showed up and we raised almost $60,000 in 24 hours. That’s what happens when we come together for the benefit of the college and for the benefit of the students,” Moore said. “Kierra Schneider was a Give Day student ambassador. People at the foundation were very supportive."

Moore is an alumnus of DSU, where he was an All-American track star and played football. He graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Shortly after capping off the Give Day event, Moore headed back to his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., to host a turkey drive to make sure hungry families have food for Thanksgiving. He also co-founded the Dakota Brotherhood Scholarship Fund with his college buddies Jesse Carney, Quincy Mason and Alex Hutizel. In addition to his role at the foundation, Moore said he’s also been working full-time at TMI Systems for the past seven years.