Jane Snowdon ’77 talks matching gifts, the impact of donor support and her recent trip of a lifetime

Jane Snowdon ’77 is a powerhouse in the field of health and human services. She was inducted into the SCASD Education Foundation’s Maroon & Gray Society as part of the 2020 class (at the 2022 celebration) and she is a strong supporter of the organization. Recently Jane made a generous contribution to the Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Student Opportunity Fund with a matching grant from her employer (IBM). We talked with Jane about why she supports the Education Foundation and where life has taken her since last year’s Maroon & Gray celebration.

Why do you support the Education Foundation?
Jane Snowdon ’77

I am driven to support the Education Foundation so that more young women and men will see their potential recognized and feel supported. The Education Foundation provides all students with enriching and innovative learning opportunities. These experiences help prepare and inspire students to make technical and social contributions to society after graduation. It is important to me to give back to the State College Area School District, the community, and the people who were especially instrumental in my formative years and throughout my life.

Why are funds like the Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Fund important for providing extra resources directly to teachers for projects they believe are worthwhile?

With rising inflation and declining education appropriations, funds like the Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 fund and Richard M. Bunnell ’49 Memorial Fund are essential for augmenting teachers’ resources for projects and extracurricular activities across the school district.

These funds enable all, not just some, students to have an equal opportunity to try new things and engage in academic, athletic, music, art, student government, and volunteer activities. These experiences can help to foster life-long learning and hobbies. They also teach students the importance of individual contributions, collaboration and teaming, and leadership skills.

Could you explain the basics of how a matching grant works for those who might not be aware of such opportunities?

Many companies have a matching grants program that enables employees to double their impact and support organizations within their communities. Active employee donations to eligible charities are matched 1:1 up to a total maximum threshold (e.g., $10,000) in gifts per donor per calendar year. Eligible charities typically fall into one of these major categories: education (K-12 through universities), health (hospitals, nursing homes, hospices), cultural (museums, libraries), and environmental (wildlife rehabilitation centers, preservation institutions). The employee makes a direct, personal, tax-deductive contribution and then submits a form to their employer for the matching funds. The process is simple and helps those who need it the most!

Do you have any updates you can share with us since your profile was written for the Maroon & Gray Society?

One highlight since 2020 includes taking a trip of a lifetime to Africa in January 2023. The trip was a combination mission trip and safari. My church has had a relationship with the Diocese of Mt. Kilimanjaro located in Arusha, Tanzania, since 1988. During this trip, a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open three buildings for teacher housing took place at the Endupoto Primary School. We brought school supplies and soccer balls for the 750 children.

We experienced an abundance of wildlife while on safari in Arusha National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and an early migration of wildebeest and zebra in the Serengeti National Park. We spotted the big 5 – a pride of 14 lions, leopards, elephants, water buffalos, and rhinos as well as the ugly 5 – crocodiles, warthogs, wildebeests, hippos, and maribou storks. We were lucky to spot a cheetah in Arusha National Park, an animal not seen there since the 1970s according to our driver.

A second highlight is that I took a new position as an intrapreneurial venture capitalist in the Chief Innovation Office in IBM’s Corporate Technical Strategy department in 2022. Our team invests in and collaborates on building innovative proofs-of-concept that leverage AI, hybrid cloud, data, and Internet of Things (IoT) in new ways to solve our clients’ business challenges. I have projects in the areas of climate and sustainability, situational awareness, and digital twins for pharmaceutical lab facilities. 

You had a full table of friends at the 2022 banquet—how do you and your State High friends keep your friendships going? What do these relationships mean to you?

I am so grateful for the life-long friendships I made at State High. We keep in touch through telephone calls, visits to each other’s homes, small group get-togethers, Penn State football games, and high school reunions.

Jane encourages other donors to look into the opportunity to set up a matching grant or gift for the Education Foundation and change the lives of teachers and students in the State College Area. For more information on giving to the Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Student Opportunity Fund to help prepare and inspire the next generation, CLICK HERE.

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