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Give Gold

September 10, 2021
person playing tennis
UW Club Sports teams have been a clear winner on UW Giving Day. They’ve gotten the word out and consistently garnered the most donors per campaign for a number of years.

UW Giving Day supports colleges, programs and students across campus. 

By Tamara Linse 

What better partnership than University of Wyoming Giving Day and Homecoming! While UW alumni and friends are recalling memories and making them, they can also help today’s and tomorrow’s students make their own by giving to the areas of their choice.

UW Giving Day, an annual UW tradition spearheaded by the UW Foundation, went from raising a mere $11,000 to millions of dollars in a single day.

“UW Giving Day is about creating a culture of philanthropy, gratitude and giving back,” says Director of Annual Giving Jack Tennant. “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. That’s also what Homecoming is about—coming together and celebrating the university that we love.”

It all began in 2015 with modest ambitions. That first year, the UW Foundation wanted to lay the groundwork and see if it could be done. It raised $11,000 from fewer than 100 donors—funds that went to support all the colleges and numerous other programs. Most gifts were given online at uwyo.edu/giveonline. The motto was “What a Difference a Day Makes!”

“UW Giving Day helps me celebrate all my wonderful experiences as a Cowboy, both as a student, then as a grateful alumnus,” says Greg Dyekman, alumnus, attorney and generous supporter of UW in many capacities. “I’m still reaping the many benefits of a fine undergraduate and professional education in the College of Business, as a debater in the College of Arts and Sciences, and at the College of Law. I like helping future graduates enhance their experiences, and UW Giving Day is a joyful way to give back across the campus.”

Starting in 2015 and continuing until 2018, UW Giving Day was held midnight to midnight in conjunction with Giving Tuesday, a worldwide celebration of giving that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The foundation for UW Giving Day was laid, and the 2016 UW Giving Day was more successful. One hundred three donors from across the U.S. and the world gave $80,000 in gifts ranging from $1 to thousands of dollars. This was the year that the UW Foundation instituted a crowdfunding site, You Fund (uwyo.edu/youfund).

Once again, in 2017, the total jumped by leaps and bounds. A total of $365,455 was raised from 216 donors, funds that supported all the colleges and many other programs. One of the great things about UW Giving Day is that any program across campus can set up a campaign—and so for every gift that the College of Business gets, another goes to Club Sports or the Wyoming Migration Initiative.

In 2018, for the first time, UW Giving Day broke both $1 million and a thousand donors. It raised $1,119,348 in gifts and pledges from 1,031 donors. That total included $308,000, as well as $804,000 in major gifts from seven generous donors. Many donors were able to take advantage of matching funds, including a President’s Impact Fund and a $50,000 matching fund created by personal gifts from the UW Foundation Board of Directors.

This was also the first year of friendly competition among campaigns to see who could rouse the most donors and who could raise the most funds. Winning the day were UW Club Sports with 151 donors and the College of Business with $463,636.

The fifth annual UW Giving Day in 2019 set a record, raising $1.6 million from 1,110 donors from all 50 states and four other countries. That’s $1.6 million in a single day! The total includes gifts that were doubled by over $200,000 in matching funds provided by the UW Foundation Board of Directors and colleges and units across campus, as well as more than $1.2 million in major gifts from four generous donors.

The sixth annual UW Giving Day in the challenging year of 2020 also broke records. Thanks to the generosity of UW supporters, there were double the number of donors and double the number of annual gifts. UW Giving Day raised $840,602 in gifts and pledges from 2,409 donors in 48 states and six countries. More than $250,000 in matching and challenge funds were available—more than ever before. This included $50,000 from the UW Foundation Board of Directors.

The year 2020 also brought other changes. Due in part to UW’s COVID-19 phase plan, UW Giving Day was moved from Giving Tuesday to mid-November and ran from noon to noon, rather than midnight to midnight.

Again, in 2021, we’re looking forward to upping our game and inspiring enthusiastic donors and friends to support the university that they love. UW Giving Day will take place Oct. 20–21, noon to noon, in conjunction with Homecoming. Matches and challenges will be available to double the impact of your gift or unlock challenge funds.

As you’re tailgating with other alumni and enjoying the beautiful campus during Homecoming, don’t forget to stop by uwyo.edu/givingday and support those areas you care about.

“We’ve seen what can be accomplished in a single day and the impact donors have across campus—everything from preparing UW teams to go head-to-head in competition to providing resources for food-insecure students,” Tennant says. “UW Giving Day is the one event that brings together every campaign and individually celebrates each of them in the spirit of giving.”

UW Giving Day is an amazing force for good for UW and its students and alumni.

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