Portrait of Cathy Rivard, Seneca alumni

Giving back

The gift of giving back

The Pay It Forward Challenge has raised more than $250,000 to help students in need, thanks to alumni like Cathy Rivard

February 15, 2024

Students can face several obstacles while obtaining an education.

But with the generous support of Seneca donors, like Cathy Rivard, they can receive the support they need to succeed.

A firm believer in the pursuit of lifelong learning and the ripple effect it has on society, Ms. Rivard is equally staunch in her belief education should be affordable. For that reason, Seneca Polytechnic is one of three postsecondary institutions to which both she and her husband donate.

“I believe that it’s really important to put something directly towards helping students”

Financial difficulties are one of the biggest challenges people can face while pursuing postsecondary education. The Alumni Pay It Forward Bursary provides students with much-needed assistance to help them stay in school and graduate.

To date, more than 500 students have received a $500 Alumni Pay it Forward Bursary, with $253,000 in total donations received from alumni and corporate donors through the Pay It Forward Challenge.

Ms. Rivard graduated from Seneca’s Library and Information Technician-Accelerated program in 2011.

After a decade-long tenure in software testing, she was ready for a career change that would allow her to use her skills and expand on them in a field that had always been of interest.

Through the program’s field placement, Ms. Rivard acquired a set of transferable skills, and found work as a social software specialist upon graduation. Now semi-retired, she reflects on her education as a positive experience and wants to help others succeed.

Ms. Rivard is among an ever-growing group of alumni proud to support students facing financial hardship with a monthly gift to Seneca.

Portrait of Cathy Rivard, Seneca alumni

The importance of donating comes from the positive impact education and its affordability has had on Ms. Rivard’s life. It helped provide her with a career as well as opportunities to explore various industry pathways that in turn allowed her to build and expand her acquired skillset. Ms. Rivard donates in the hopes of helping students achieve an education at an affordable rate to help them succeed throughout their studies and careers.

“My first impulse was to give back to schools,” she said. “I am happy to know that it is being put towards student need and I hope my gifts allow students to buy the supplies they need.”

Ms. Rivard seizes the opportunity to be a part of Seneca’s growing philanthropic community and encourages other alumni to become monthly donors, too.

“I believe that it’s really important to put something directly towards helping students,” she said.

If you wish to join the challenge with a monthly gift to the Alumni Pay It Forward Bursary, visit the online donation page.

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