Paying it Forward

Publication Date

When MIT Police Captain Cheryl Vossmer served on the committee organizing the 2017 Collier Cornhole Tournament to raise money for the Officer Sean A. Collier Scholarship Fund, she needed to find a way to collect money—for t-shirt sales and silent auction bids by credit card. The stakes were high, as this was the fifth and final tournament and the goal was in reach—a scholarship to support one recruit a year to attend the Lowell Police Academy in Sean Collier’s name. Vossmer wanted to finish strong—that is, Collier Strong.

Collier cornhole poster

The event, held at MIT’s Briggs Field every year, had operated as “cash only” in the past. Vossmer sensed they would raise more money if they could use credit cards and reached out to VPF Merchant Services for help. Donna Cairns, VPF’s manager of Merchant Services, had the solution—VPF’s Point of Sale (POS) loaner program for DLCs who need to collect funds for one-time events. She set them up with two secure POS machines, arranged for the funds to go directly to the cost object for the event, and explained that even though they were on Briggs Field, the transaction data would be secure.   
“The event was phenomenally successful,” says Vossmer. “We doubled the amount we raised last year. Collecting payments with credit cards made it easy for donors to buy more shirts and bid higher on the silent auction items. I had no idea it would be so easy.”
MIT Police Crime Analyst Susan Fuller-DeAmato agrees. New to the campus force and participating in her first Collier event, Fuller-DeAmato was in charge of t-shirt sales. “When you’re selling t-shirts for $15 and everyone has $20 dollar bills from the ATM, it can be a challenge to make change. People actually bought extra t-shirts because they could use a credit card,” she says.
VPF Merchant Services has eight POS machines available in the lending program. While this is routine business for Donna there was something special about this request. “I was thrilled when Captain Vossmer told me they had doubled last year’s revenue,” she says. “I’m glad we could make a difference for this event, and help the MIT Police to honor Sean Collier.” 

— Laurie Everett


VPF Merchant Services can lend Point of Sale (POS) credit card machines to DLCs for one-time events. Reach out to Donna Cairns at or 253-2758 as soon as you know the date of your event. She will bring a POS machine to you, show you how to use it, and remind you to keep it secure at all times. After the event, Donna will collect the machine, clear out the charges and fees, and get the machine ready for the next user.