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2021 UW Giving Day Breaks All Records

November 1, 2021
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The seventh annual University of Wyoming Giving Day, held during Homecoming this year, was record-breaking -- raising discretionary funds that benefit programs large and small at Wyoming’s only four-year, land-grant university.

“This year, with over 100 campus units involved, three times the financial support and over 1,200 more donors than before, Giving Day was a huge success for all,” says Jack Tennant, the UW Foundation’s director of annual giving.

UW Giving Day 2021 raised a total of $2,421,333 from 3,629 donors across the U.S. and the world in 108 campaigns that benefit programs across campus. This breaks the record set in 2019 of over $1.6 million from 1,110 donors.

UW Giving Day, UW’s annual day of giving spearheaded by the UW Foundation, takes place online at www.uwyo.edu/givingday and across campus. The 2021 annual celebration of giving was held Oct. 20-21, noon to noon, with the theme of #givegold.

All eight UW colleges were supported this year, and other programs across campus included everything from the Alumni Association to the Global Engagement Office, the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities, the High Plains American Indian Research Institute, the Western Thunder Marching Band and UW Athletics.

“The goal of UW Giving Day is to build out a foundation for all units on campus to ask for and receive support that can make a difference for their particular mission on campus,” Tennant says.

The most money raised in a campaign went to the Division of Communication Disorders with $436,450, which contributed to the College of Health Sciences total of $500,904.

This year, like previous years, featured friendly competition among campaigns to energize the most donors. The rodeo team took the prize, with 347 supporters giving gifts to put rodeo in the win column for the Overall Donor Challenge.

Coming in second through fifth were women’s ice hockey (205 donors); other College of Business funds (182); the Western Thunder Marching Band (181); and the Alumni Association Heritage Circle (165). The winning campaigns received awards ranging from $5,000 to $500.

“Giving Day was a truly incredible day for the UW women’s club hockey team,” says Josie Duerre, president, captain and player on the team. “We were not anticipating the massive amount of success we had, but we are extremely grateful to each and every donor who chose to donate to the team.

“Hockey has always had a culture of being a pay-to-play sport, but the girls on the team really stepped up when we asked them to, took initiative and campaigned hard for the team. I couldn’t be prouder,” Duerre continues. “This has never happened before in past years, and we are so excited to use the funds that the girls worked hard to earn to improve our club and continue to grow the sport of hockey.”

“It continues to amaze me how the support for units across campus continues to grow every single year,” Tennant says. “Congratulations to rodeo! And, every year, there’s a new area on campus that rallies supporters to make a difference on Giving Day. We couldn’t be more excited for the women’s ice hockey team.”

Cumulatively, Campus Recreation and Club Sports inspired a whopping 773 donors -- this is the fourth year this unit has had the most donors. Trailing them were the College of Arts and Sciences (553 donors), the College of Business (352) and the Alumni Association (300).

All UW programs had the opportunity to set up campaigns to raise money where it’s needed most. For every gift in support of a college, another could go to a small initiative or program run by students not targeted by traditional fundraising.

Over $500,000 was available in matching and challenge funds, which allow donors to increase the impact of their giving.

Matches are funds that allow donors to double the impact of their gifts. For example, $100 given to a program that is eligible for a match is doubled with an additional $100, meaning that $200 goes to support that program.

This year, a $60,000 matching fund established by the UW Foundation Board went live at noon Oct. 20 and was available to any donor for any campaign, for online gifts only, for up to $1,000 per donor.

Available at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 was President Ed Seidel’s UW Faculty/Staff Giving Day Match of $25,000. This fund was established by Seidel, his partner, Gabrielle Allen, and the UW Foundation Board. Another $12,000 matching fund was available at midnight for the Giving Day Midnight Match. And there were a number of additional college- and unit-specific funds as well.

Challenges are similar but are generally based on the number of donors or amount raised. Once a threshold is reached, the fund is unlocked. For example, a challenge may be set up for a certain number of donors to a particular program and, if that is achieved, it unlocks that fund. The Overall Donor Challenge is an example of a challenge fund, and there were numerous other challenges available.

UW is the first public university to accept cryptocurrency on Giving Day, and UW Giving Day 2021 was no exception, accepting gifts in 54 types of cryptocurrency and tokens (www.uwyo.edu/givecrypto).

These gifts satisfied the Crypto UW Giving Day Challenge, in which 15 crypto gifts unlocked a fund of $15,000. This matching fund 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.

UW raised $15,927 in 20 crypto gifts, which went to support everything from the Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation, the Wyoming Advanced Blockchain Laboratory and the WyoHackathon to LeaRN Programs and the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research.

“We can’t express enough how much we appreciate all who made a gift on UW Giving Day,” Tennant says.

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