The sixth annual UW Giving Day is Thursday-Friday, noon-noon, and this year’s theme, “24 Means More,” highlights the impact a single 24-hour period can have on the university. This year is different from previous years. Due to unusual circumstances, it has been moved to mid-November and runs from noon to noon, rather than midnight to midnight.
“Giving Day has really become a tremendous annual event for so many units on campus that traditionally don’t have the opportunity to display how philanthropy can impact their area or their mission,” says Jack Tennant, UW Foundation director of annual giving. “We’re hopeful that, though this year has certain challenges, donors will continue to help make a difference and make that 24 hours mean so much more.”
On UW Giving Day, donors can go to the UW Giving Day website (uwyo.edu/givingday) to give online and can support the UW college, unit or program of their choice. All gifts during this time are counted toward the day’s total. Gifts of cryptocurrency also are welcome.
There are also multiple opportunities totaling more than $250,000 for donors to double the impact of their gifts or help unlock a challenge gift for a campaign on campus.
A general matching fund of $50,000 generously established by the UW Foundation board will match gifts starting at noon Thursday. This match will be on a first-come, first-served basis for up to a total of $1,000 per donor for online gifts. It will be in effect until the fund is completely matched.
Then, at 5 p.m., unit- or project-specific matching funds will go live. Donors can give more than once to take advantage of both matching opportunities.
Matching funds double or triple the amount of a gift, and challenges are triggered when a Giving Day campaign achieves a donor threshold. Cryptocurrency gifts can take advantage of a challenge fund in which 10 crypto gifts will unlock a $20,000 crypto gift to UW.
“In addition to providing a general matching fund, we’ve had many UW Foundation board members and donors also set up individual matches and challenges in units across campus,” Tennant says. “These incentives really make a huge difference for both the donor but, more importantly, the unit.”
Last year, this annual tradition raised more than $1.6 million in gifts and pledges. A total of 1,110 donors gave gifts ranging from $1 to $1 million in support of areas across campus, and many gifts were doubled by matching funds. Donations came from all 50 states and around the world and were doubled by $201,500 in matching funds.
All UW colleges were supported in 2019. Donors also supported units such as the Alumni Association; American Heritage Center; athletics; club sports; Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources; Native American education, Research and Cultural Center; School of Energy Resources; student affairs; UW Art Museum; and UW Libraries.
In addition, in 2019, 43 campaigns were highlighted, creating awareness for their causes. New campaigns that received this valuable support were the Black 14 Legacy Endowment, Debate/Forensics Team, UW Rodeo Champions Club, Western Thunder Marching Band Hat Club and the Wyoming Migration Initiative.
An example of the impact of UW Giving Day philanthropy, the UW Ethics Club Spark Tank was a focus in 2019. Its campaign raised $36,505 from 41 donors. The UW Ethics Club is a recognized student organization (RSO) that develops student character and conscience, and promotes ethical decision-making. Spark Tank is the club’s philanthropic effort to support nonprofits. Spark Tank “sparks” the mission of local nonprofits and enriches the college experience for UW students by participating in philanthropic endeavors.
Another example: On UW Giving Day 2018, UW Club Sports took the prize for the most donors at 151. Club Sports also had the most donors in 2019. These 20 sports provide students with the opportunity to play against intercollegiate club teams, competing regionally, nationally and even internationally. Each club team is an RSO and includes everything from lacrosse, rugby, cricket and hockey to soccer, tennis, fencing and equestrian sports.
UW Giving Day is more than just the total money raised, however. It also is about creating a culture of philanthropy, gratitude and giving back -- not only at the university, but also across the state. It’s about bringing together all those who love Wyoming and its university, and uniting them behind the common purposes of education, research and service.