“UCF has given me so much — more than I can ever repay,” says Rachel Barnes Eisenberg ’17. Because of the support she received as a student, Barnes started giving back to her alma mater as soon as she could. “Part of the reason I actually came to UCF was a scholarship I received after I applied,” she says. Although it was considered a small amount — $750 per semester — it made a big difference. “I know a lot of people think about scholarships in four- or five-figure amounts, but [my scholarship] went a long way,” she says.

Serving as a 4EVER Knights ambassador, Barnes was able to work and attend the IGNITE Campaign launch back in 2016 which inspired her love and passion for nonprofit organizations and fundraising. “Being in the arena with some of our most generous donors and hearing their reasons for giving and their continued love of UCF years and years after graduating was inspiring.” Today, she works a development coordinator for Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras which she considers the best of both worlds, as it allows her to combine her love of music and nonprofit fundraising.

The pandemic has definitely challenged Barnes and her husband David Eisenberg ’17 — who spent time during college as Knightro — but the couple has tried to stay connected to UCF and support it any way they can, from donating to programs and scholarships, to attending home games or reaching out to mentors. But no matter what is going on in the world, UCF is still front and center with them. “We are diehard UCF fans; we bleed black and gold and it is our highest philanthropic priority.”

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