Give STL Day 2015 Results

Our 2015 Give STL Day total!
Our 2015 Give STL Day total!

The second annual Give STL Day was held May 5, 2015.  This is a 24-hour, online giving event coordinated by The Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation to promote philanthropic giving across the greater St. Louis community.  It’s a wonderful event for small non-profits, like The Skeptical Society of St. Louis, to be involved because the Foundation takes care of all of the logistics, including setting up the donation website, developing promotion materials, creating social media message suggestions, obtaining sponsors to donate prizes and matching funds, and helping to promote the event via media campaigns that include television, radio, and billboard.  All we have to do is promote the day to our potential donors!  This is a high-quality fundraising event with a potentially big impact for small organizations and a decidedly significant impact to the region.

The Skeptical Society of St. Louis was honored to be one of 790 non-profits throughout the region to participate in this year’s giving event.  As of May 6th, the event generated 20,260 gifts totaling nearly $2.1M (as in million)!!  The 2014 event had somewhere around 13,000 gifts for a total around $1M – so 2015 more than doubled the amount raised!  Well-done St. Louis! (in case you were not aware, St. Louis is consistently ranked as one of the most philanthropic cities in America).

SSSL’s fundraising goal for our first Giving Day was $1,000.  We ended at $890!  Am I disappointed?  Sure.  But, I also see this as a big win for our little organization.  We had 12 donors who got us to our total.  A couple of them have matching gift companies so their donations will be multiplied.  And, $890 allows us to do the following:

$400 – to set up 2 (two) $200 special awards for K-5 students at the 2016 St. Louis Science Fair. These funds are deposited directly into the winning students’ 529 education savings accounts to be used for their future education.

$50 – to purchase a couple of critical-thinking books to be packaged with the special award money.

$440 – to cover expenses for the 3rd Annual SkeptiCamp to be held Saturday, August 22, 2015.  Any additional donations (matching gifts, etc.) will be used to fund this annual event.

Not too shabby for a small, grassroots organization with a renewed focus on promoting science and critical-thinking in the St. Louis area.  We will continue to grow and continue to have more impact in our community.  The Give STL Day event is one of the ways we will be able to accomplish our goals.

To everyone who donated, THANK YOU!  We are a 501c3 organization and you will receive your donation acknowledgement letter for your taxes in the mail soon.

Our 2015 Science Fair Special Awards Winners!

Yay! The 2015 Academy of Science St. Louis Science Fair results are finally posted online! I have attached a screenshot of our winners (the red and blue “ribbons” are the “grades” our winners were awarded by science fair judges, not by us).

Our 2015 winners
Our 2015 winners


Our first awardee listed is Carissa, a 5th grade student in Chesterfield. Her hypothesis was the size of the payroll on major league teams impacts win percentage. She evaluated all four major leagues: baseball, football, hockey, and basketball and discovered that payroll size did not matter. We chose her project because it was well-designed, it was obvious she did the majority (if not all) of the work, it showed good critical-thinking, and she indicated in her notes that she loves math and wanted to do a project with statistics since there are not many opportunities to do statistical projects in grade school. Congratulations Carissa!

Our second awardee is Bennett, a 4th grade student in Kirkwood. Bennett’s project tested the common assumption that refrigerating batteries will prolong their life. His hypothesis was that refrigeration would NOT prolong battery life and it was supported. We chose his project because it was well-designed, it was obvious that he had done the majority of the work, it tested a common assumption (critical-thinking), and he noted in his conclusion that even though his hypothesis was supported, the data was hard to differentiate and so further studies on a different scale may yield different results. This shows knowledge of replication and demonstrates skepticism of his results. Congratulations Bennett – and thank you for freeing up freezer space at my house!

Both students will receive $100 awards from SSSL which will be deposited directly into their higher education 529 savings plan. They also received a certificate and a letter of congratulations. I will be sure to share their thank you letters with you all when they arrive.

Just a couple of other quick notes: 1) The Academy of Science was absolutely thrilled that we are participating in the science fair in this way. They appreciate our focus on grades K-5 and our reinforcement of critical-thinking skills. 2) Several individuals at the Academy have shared with me that students who have even $1.00 in their 529 account are 40% more likely to attend college (I forgot to get their citation on that one – shame on me!).

I hope you all find our participation in the St. Louis Science Fair as rewarding (in a vicarious sort of way) as I did. Let’s up the ante for next year and present 2 $200 awards!!