Why I Give: Katie France ’08


Giving Made Easier

Katie France ’08 is one busy person. To fit in a phone interview this past spring, as she was completing her residency at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (she specialized in oral medicine and served on the executive board of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly), she made time by conducting it between appointments as she hustled through the streets of Center City, Philadelphia. “These days,” she explained with a laugh, “you don’t just walk.”

One task Katie doesn’t have to squeeze in, however, is making a gift to Williston. That happens automatically, through the school’s recurring giving program.
“We’re so busy with our lives, it’s easy to get distracted,” says Katie, who is now an assistant professor of oral medicine at Penn. “If it’s something you expect to do every year, and you can set up a recurring transaction, it’s much easier and it’s not a lot of extra effort. The recurring transaction happens, and if you want to give more, that’s a great reminder to give more.”

And when Katie did indeed want to give more during the 2018 Founders Day campaign, she turned to another technology that makes the process easier: Venmo. She was among the first to make a gift to Williston using the electronic payment app, which has since been used for donations by more than 250 other young—or at least technologically savvy—alums.

“I use Venmo with my friends all the time,” Katie says. “It’s partially because I’m of the right age to trust those things, but I also think Venmo and its counterparts make life so easy, and making giving back easy is huge for people in my age group.”

Katie also liked donating through Venmo because of the app’s social media component. Users can post what they’ve been spending money on as a way to alert others to trends or share in exciting news. “I was hoping it would be a social media push for Williston, because people could look at who’s been donating through Venmo, which could help get out the Founders Day message and encourage giving.”

And what encourages Katie to give? “Williston does such a good job of creating good citizens—well-rounded, ethical, and mindful people—and I want to support that,” she explains. “And it’s also very important to me that Williston can continue to give financial aid to those who need it. Because not only does that allow those students to get the experience of going to Williston, but it’s also shapes everybody else’s experience. That kind of diversity is essential, I think, and I would hate to see Williston’s ability to distribute financial aid suffer.”

Katie’s recurring support for the school is helping keep that goal possible—no matter how busy she gets.

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