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More than a Wedding

Honors College Chronicles

Katie (Bailey) McCabe graduated from IUP’s Robert E. Cook Honors College in 2001. An English/pre-law major, she currently works in Marketing at FactSet Research Systems in Norwalk, Conn. McCabe’s stepfather, Robert Alico, taught microbiology at IUP for thirty-two years before retiring in 2000.

Katie and Owen McCabe

Katie and Owen McCabe (courtesy of Katie McCabe)

When Katie Bailey was planning her April 2007 wedding to Owen McCabe, a friend told her about the I Do Foundation (www.idofoundation.org). The site brings charitable giving to weddings by allowing couples to opt for direct gifts to a charity, for gifts tied to traditional vendors’ wedding registries, or for gifts in lieu of the favors normally given guests at wedding receptions.

“As soon as I heard about the foundation,” McCabe said, “I knew I wanted to contribute to the IUP scholarship my parents had started in memory of my stepbrother, Robert Alico, Jr. He was an art major at IUP who died in 1992 at age twenty-six from cystic fibrosis.” Each year, she said, the Alico scholarship supports outstanding junior art majors with GPAs above 3.2.

Not surprisingly, the scholarship wasn’t on the I Do Foundation’s list of charities. But, McCabe said, “Getting everything approved and set up was a breeze.  Both the I Do Foundation and the Foundation for IUP were extremely friendly and helpful, and within a few days, all the arrangements were made. Really, I could have chosen any fund at IUP for our donations.”

The couple offered their guests two ways to contribute to the scholarship—one active and one passive. First, instead of giving the couple wedding gifts, guests could visit their wedding website and choose Charity Registry. This way, money would go directly to the scholarship.

If guests instead chose to purchase tangible gifts for the couple and went to the Amazon or Target gift registries by way of the couple’s website, a portion of the purchase price was automatically donated to the scholarship at no cost to the buyer. Simply by linking to these sites from their I Do webpage, the McCabes assured that about 5 percent of what their guests spent on gifts went to the scholarship.

The couple also chose to forgo guest favors, instead making an additional donation to the scholarship. Through the I Do Foundation, they ordered favor cards that let their guests know they’d made a donation in their honor. By purchasing some of their wedding items, e.g., a cake cutter, from the foundation’s on-line store, they made even more donations.

All told, the McCabes raised more than $2,500 for the scholarship—and got married at the same time. “We had invited only around 100 people to our destination wedding,” McCabe said. “Of the amount we raised, approximately $750 came from the Charity Registry, $500 from the donation in lieu of favors, $300 from vendors’ gift registries, and the rest from company matching.”

“We wanted our wedding to be not only about the two of us but also about sharing our joy with others through the scholarship while honoring my stepbrother, who could not be with us,” she said. “From the emphasis the Honors College places on personal responsibility and philanthropy, I know other alumni (and all IUP alumni) may want to use their time of personal celebration to give back, too.”