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UW Giving Day is an annual UW tradition spearheaded by the UW Foundation that went from raising a mere $11,000 to millions of dollars in a single day.
It all began in 2015 with modest ambitions. That first year, the University of Wyoming Foundation wanted to lay the groundwork and see if it could be done. It raised $11,000 from less than 100 donors—funds that went to support all the colleges and numerous other programs. Most gifts were given online at uwyo.edu/giveonline. Our motto was “What a Difference a Day Makes!”
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 in 2015, and the 2016 UW Giving Day was more successful. One hundred and 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).
In 2017, the total once again 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 in gifts, 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 fifty states and four other countries. The total included 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.
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.
In 2021, for the seventh annual giving day, we upped our game, and UW’s inspiring enthusiastic donors and friends supported the university that they love more than ever before. It raised $2,421,333 from 3,629 donors across the U.S. and the world in 108 campaigns that benefit programs across campus.
Also in 2021, over $500,000 was available in matching and challenge funds, which allow donors to increase the impact of their giving. This included a UW Foundation Board matching fund, President Ed Seidel’s UW Faculty/Staff Giving Day Match, and a Giving Day Midnight Match, as well as a number of college- and unit-specific funds.
UW is the first public university to accept cryptocurrency on Giving Day, and UW Giving Day 2021 was no exception. UW raised $15,927 in 20 crypto gifts, which unlocked the Crypto UW Giving Day Challenge. This challenge was created by Caitlin Long, founder and CEO of Avanti Bank & Trust who led the charge for blockchain legislation in Wyoming, and Philip Treick, chief investment officer at the UW Foundation.
In 2022, UW Giving Day took place October 19–20, noon to noon, in conjunction with Homecoming, with the theme of The Big Give. A total of 6,293 donors from all 50 states and 10 countries gave a total of $4,107,408—once again doubling last year’s totals and besting all previous records.
More than $700,000 in matches and challenges were available double the impact of gifts or unlock challenge funds, including 60 unit-specific matches and challenges. Matches included an overall match for all donors established by the UW Foundation Board of Directors, President Ed Seidel’s Faculty and Staff Match, and the UW Foundation Board Midnight Match. The first two funds went live at noon of the first day and were used up by donors in eight minutes. The Board Midnight Match went live at midnight and was claimed in three minutes.
The campaigns, not including those of individual colleges, with the most donors won the Overall Donor Challenge, with the top 10 receiving awards. The winner was the UW Rodeo Team. For the UW Alumni Association Challenge, if 1,200 alumni gave on UW Giving Day, a $10,000 challenge fund created by the UW Foundation Board was unlocked to benefit the Alumni Association. A total of 1,796 alumni stepped up for this challenge.
In 2023, UW Giving Day will take place October 25-26, noon to noon, with the theme of Make My Day. Matches and challenges will be available double the impact of your gift or unlock challenge funds.
As you’re enjoying the beautiful fall, don’t forget to stop by uwyo.edu/givingday and support those areas you care about. UW Giving Day is an amazing force for good for the University of Wyoming and its students and alums. Thank you for making it possible!