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Fourth Annual UW Giving Day Raises Over $1.1 Million

December 3, 2018
people on a phone
UW President Laurie Nichols speaks with a donor during this year’s UW Giving Day, while student Lisetta Horn, a Cowboy Call participant from Minneapolis, Minn., looks on. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming’s fourth annual UW Giving Day surpassed all expectations, raising a total of $1,119,348 in gifts and pledges from 1,031 donors.

UW Giving Day -- falling on Nov. 27 this year -- is an annual tradition held in conjunction with Giving Tuesday that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving from midnight to midnight. It follows the traditional shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“To see over 1,000 donors make a gift to the University of Wyoming in 24 hours was truly incredible,” says Jack Tennant, director of annual giving for the UW Foundation. “With gifts supporting units and students all over campus, it was clear that our alumni and supporters care deeply about their university. Being a part of the University of Wyoming for over 12 years, including six in athletics, I’ve had some exciting days. This one is among the top. I could not be happier for campus and everyone involved with the day.”

The more than $1.1 million total includes $308,000 in gifts, some that were doubled by matching funds. These included a $50,000 matching fund created by personal gifts from the UW Foundation Board of Directors and a President’s Impact Fund matching fund created by Bill Lange of the Lura-Lee G. and William E. Lange Foundation. It also included $804,000 in major gifts from seven generous donors.

The effort was supported by people across campus, across the state and across the nation. First and foremost, the more than 1,000 donors from 37 states and the District of Columbia gave gifts ranging in size from $1 to thousands of dollars.

The UW Foundation spearheaded the effort, and UW faculty, staff, administration and students supported it by getting the word out through social media, newsletters and personal contacts. Word quickly spread through donors, alumni and friends. The online giving platform (www.uwyo.edu/givingday) is a partnership between the UW Foundation and Community Funded, a crowdfunding and philanthropy organization.

Of particular note, the UW Foundation’s Cowboy Callers called people throughout the day. Cowboy Call is a student voice of UW. Cowboy Callers play a vital role in connecting -- or reconnecting -- alumni, parents, donors and friends to UW. Each year, thousands of generous donors support the university through Cowboy Call alone.

UW President Laurie Nichols stopped by the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center Cowboy Call Center in the afternoon to encourage the students. She brought Toppers pizza and chatted on the phone with alumni and donors.

Donors supported all the UW colleges: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering and Applied Science, Health Sciences and Law. They 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; UW Honors College; and UW Libraries.

The President’s Impact Fund was a particular focus, with its own matching fund created by the Lange Foundation. The fund provides unrestricted discretionary support for projects that the president determines most critical, and it is vital in realizing UW’s strategic plan, “Breaking Through: 2017-2022.” It provides the capacity to launch special initiatives and strengthen vital programs.

Winning the day were UW club sports, which had the most donors -- 151. The 22 sports provide students with the opportunity to compete against intercollegiate club teams, competing regionally, nationally and even internationally. Each club team is a recognized student organization with Campus Recreation and the Campus Activities Center. Club sports include everything from lacrosse, rugby, cricket and hockey to soccer, tennis, fencing and equestrian sports.

“Giving Day provides club softball with the ability to take Wyoming pride outside the state and compete across the nation,” says Elizabeth Lempp, co-president of club softball. “With the help of the donors and Giving Day, we are able to continue playing the sport we love.”

“The incredible support from donors to the club sports program is a testament to the impact that college cocurricular activities have on the student experience,” says Adam Burke, assistant director of programs for the Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center. “With over 150 donors giving to various club sports organizations, it is clear that the opportunity to continue competing in sports is a major influence on how their collegiate experience is remembered. These donations will help our club sports teams purchase new uniforms and equipment, and travel to represent the University of Wyoming.”

The program with the most money raised was the UW College of Business, with a total for the day of $463,636. This total includes gifts and major gifts that support scholarships, excellence funds and other college priorities.

“I want to thank all of you for supporting us on Giving Day,” says David Sprott, dean of the UW College of Business. “The alumni, the students, the state -- everybody -- want to see this place succeed. We talk about the very big donations that make headlines in newspapers -- a new center is started, a new institute. The reality is the small donations matter as well. One hundred dollars on an annual basis from a large number of people can have a significant impact.”

He also notes the many faculty and staff who offered their support on Giving Day.

In 2017, UW Giving Day raised $364,455 in gifts and pledges in a single day. Two hundred sixteen donors gave gifts ranging from $1 to thousands of dollars in support of areas across campus and out into the state. Donations came from across the U.S. and around the world. UW’s first giving day was in 2015.

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 UW, 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.

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