Whitman Student Helps Raise $100K with COVID-19 Relief Campaign

Jack Adler ’23 was excited to start his first-year experience at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. What he didn’t expect was having to cut his time on campus short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Adler made the most of his studies this spring, back at home in Villanova, Pennsylvania. He even brainstormed an idea that could help the community during this time.

“I was inspired to start this campaign by Michael Rubin’s All-In Challenge,” he shares. “I was working on my accounting homework one day, while quarantined in my home, and I zoned out and began thinking of possibilities of how an ordinary person like me could raise money for this pandemic that has put everyone in the world’s life on hold.”

Fundraising Campaign Idea

Adler and his twin sister, Kate Adler, came together to start the 3 Dollar Challenge. The Adler’s launched the fundraiser April 21 and raised over $7,000 in the first 12 hours. In just one week, they reached $10,000 in donations. 

The challenge asks individuals to donate three dollars via Venmo (@threeDC) or the Go Fund Me campaign. Then donors are asked to post a photo to their Instagram story, tag @3dollarchallenge and nominate others to do the same.

Overwhelming support flooded in from friends, family and community members.

“I knew I didn’t have the same influence as celebrities who are participating in the All-In Challenge, and I couldn’t afford to donate the same amount as them. But I knew I could find a way to make a difference, no matter how small,” adds Adler.

The first video produced by Jack and Kate Adler to share the word about the 3 Dollar Challenge.

Adler and his sister, who studies business at the University of Miami, came up with the 3 Dollar Challenge fundraiser in hopes of showing others that a little good from a lot of people can make a huge difference. 

All of the proceeds are being donated to Feeding America, Direct Relief and the CDC. Adler says, “We are determined to do whatever we can to make a difference during this unprecedented time.”

Growing a National Fundraiser

Adler received a message from another fundraiser called the Makin’ Lemonade Fund, a grassroots Gen Z campaign with over 200 high school and college students from around the nation working on raising money for COVID relief funds.

Knowing the campaign had the potential to grow even more, they teamed up and pooled their efforts to support the community. 

These fundraising campaigns for COVID-19 relief have raised over $85,000 and are on their way to hit the $100,000 mark by the end of the week.

The Adler’s caught the attention of 6abc Action News and shared their story of how they started the 3 Dollar Challenge campaign, as well as their efforts teaming up with the Makin’ Lemonade Fund.

News segment by Erin O’Hearn at 6abc Action News talking about the local twins from Villanova who are attracting some major social media attention with the 3 Dollar Challenge they started on Instagram two weeks ago.

How Adler’s Whitman Education Helped

As a first-year student, Adler has only completed a small number of his college courses. Although his business program is just starting, he credits what he learned in the classroom as an instrumental part of the success of the fundraising campaign.

“Saying that I have used some of the tools I learned in my SOM class is honestly an understatement. From marketing strategies to pricing strategies, dealing with the finances and many more tools… I learned, running a fundraiser has really felt like running a business, just where all the profit is being donated to charity!” explains Adler.

Before launching the 3 Dollar Challenge on social media, Adler spent days preparing the launch of the campaign with his sister. They had decided that their target market would be college students at large institutions around the nation. They were going to use their connections to reach students at every university they could think of to spread the word. 

Adler shares, “In our original video that we posted, we knew we had to give a value proposition in order to get students who didn’t know us to feel like they had a reason to spread the word. My line where I stated, ‘We all have the power to come together and make an impact larger than we’d be capable of as individuals’ is meant to make college students feel like they have just as much power as every other student to make a difference by spreading the word.”

Adler continues to share more about how he applied the knowledge he gained from SOM to the campaign, “In regard to pricing strategies, it is obviously very different with a fundraiser as opposed to in a real business, but we did take into account value-based pricing when deciding on how much we should ask everyone to donate. We know that to the average college student, $5 sounds like a lot more than $3. So we decided that to raise the most amount of money, we had to endorse a price that sounded like it was close to nothing.”

Beyond the classroom, Adler also had the opportunity to receive his Excel Certification which he used to keep a convenient running-total to keep close track of the donations coming in from Venmo and Go Fund Me.

Proud Moment for Whitman Student

“I’m very proud of my sister and I for turning such a little brainstorming session into a huge movement,” Adler says. “I’m also amazed at the outpouring of support we’ve received from so many in our community and even more from those that we don’t even know!”

Adler continues, “It has been an amazing experience for both of us, getting the chance to have quick conversations with thousands of people from around the nation, including some big names in the business world, such as Adam Weitsman, who posted for the challenge a few weeks ago!”

@adamweitsman, @tommydevito, @barstoolcuse and @justyn.knight are just a few examples of the individuals who joined in on the 3 Dollar Challenge.

The Adler’s have reached their goal of proving that a little good from a lot of people can make a huge difference. But they are continuing the 3 Dollar Challenge to help the community during this time.

Learn more about the 3 Dollar Challenge by visiting the Instagram account @3dollarchallenge

Kimmy Kimball