The University of Wyoming’s fifth annual Giving Day surpassed all expectations, raising a record-breaking $1,609,870 in gifts and pledges from 1,110 donors.
This year, donors came from all 50 states and four countries, with gifts ranging from $1 to $1 million. UW Giving Day is an annual tradition held in conjunction with Giving Tuesday, a global movement that encourages generosity and works to transform communities.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the success of this year’s Giving Day,” says Jack Tennant, director of annual giving for the UW Foundation. “For some units on campus, the impact of the support they received will be transformational to their programs. We are so thankful to all of our generous donors and supporters.”
The 2019 total includes about $410,000 in discretionary gifts, some that were doubled by $60,000 in matching funds from the UW Foundation Board of Directors and $141,500 from nine college- and unit-specific matching funds. This year’s total also includes more than $1.2 million in major gifts from four generous donors.
All UW colleges were supported this year. Moreover, donors supported units such as the Alumni Association; American Heritage Center; Department of Athletics; Club Sports; Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources; Native American Education, Research and Cultural Center; School of Energy Resources; Division of Student Affairs; UW Art Museum; and UW Libraries.
In addition, 43 campaigns were highlighted on UW Giving Day, creating awareness for their causes. New campaigns that received 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.
The UW Ethics Club Spark Tank was a particular focus this year, bringing in $36,505 from 41 donors. The UW Ethics Club is a recognized student organization focusing on developing student character and conscience as well as promoting ethical decision-making. Spark Tank is the UW Ethics Club’s philanthropic effort to further the missions of nonprofit organizations in the Laramie community.
“One of the things I really appreciate about UW Giving Day is that it helps illustrate the importance of giving back to our students,” says Kent Noble, UW’s Bill Daniels Chair of Business Ethics and Ethics Club adviser. “Many of UW’s students were on the front line of this effort and are witnessing the direct impact of what philanthropy can do to enhance their communities and education. That’s a great lesson to pass on to the next generation of business and community leaders.”
Spark Tank’s goals are to serve the community through outreach, to provide funds that “spark” the mission of local nonprofits and to increase the value of the college experience for UW Ethics Club members by enabling them to participate in philanthropic endeavors.
Each year, UW Giving Day gains significant momentum as individuals and organizations come together to celebrate and encourage giving to Wyoming’s university. In 2018, UW Giving Day raised $1,119,348 from 1,031 donors. In 2017, $364,455 was raised from 216 donors.
The UW Foundation spearheaded the effort, but the collaborative energy of the entire campus contributed to the success of this year’s effort. UW faculty, staff, administration and students used social media, publications and personal contacts to get the word out to UW’s thousands of alumni and friends.
Of particular note, the UW Foundation’s Cowboy Callers impacted this year’s success by contacting people throughout the day through calls and text messages, sharing their enthusiasm and generating support. Cowboy Callers play a vital role in connecting — or reconnecting — alumni, parents, donors and friends to UW.
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 to 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.