Holiday Gift Drive

This holiday season, the Institute for Advanced Analytics was excited to partner with WakeMed Children’s hospital to collect toys as part of their annual holiday gift drive. The drive ensures that every current patient has a gift at Christmas. While past fundraisers have involved competition between the two cohorts, this fundraiser used a different strategy where the entire class was rewarded for meeting specific donation benchmarks.

The first benchmark was to raise $250 by the IAA holiday party. While the time was short (only two days), the class rallied. Because we made our first benchmark, Dr. Healey came to the party dressed as Santa Claus.

Dr. Rappa and Santa (Dr. Healey)

The second benchmark was $500. A week after the fundraiser began, the class passed this benchmark and will be celebrating with a dinner in the spring semester with Dr. Healey. We appreciate his willingness to participate.

Yet the fundraiser didn’t stop there. After two weeks, with participation from all staff members and 54% of the class, we reached a total of $1555. We asked WakeMed if they would prefer a cash donation, but they actually asked us to go out and purchase gifts from a list they provided.

In a crazy morning at Walmart, we bought $1350 worth of a gifts for kids of all ages. We filled four shopping carts with dolls, board games, arts and crafts supplies, toy trucks, nail polish, and more. Afterwards, we went to a Quail Ridge Books, a local bookstore, to purchase $200 worth of books in both English and Spanish.

Shopping for the toys and books

In the evening, we dropped off our donation at WakeMed and had the pleasure of meeting the volunteers who would be sorting through our gifts. We are thrilled with the generosity of our IAA classmates and staff and wish everyone a happy holiday season.

Wake Med Children’s Holiday Toy Drive

Columnist; Emily Hadley