UCI’s first-ever Giving Day on April 12 raised $1.4 million within 24 hours – exceeding its goal of $1 million – to support students, research and innovative programs across campus.
“We are tremendously grateful to our community of donors who came together to truly make an impact at UCI in just one day,” said Brian Hervey, vice chancellor of university advancement.
Giving Day donations poured in from more than 1,600 benefactors in over 30 states and nine countries. A large portion of the gifts came from UCI alumni.
Their generosity not only played a significant role in the success of the campaign, but also will enhance UCI’s reputation as a world-class institution. U.S. News & World Report factors alumni giving, or participation, into its ranking algorithm.
“Alumni have a special connection to the university, and their support – regardless of size – directly reflects the value they place on the education they received at UCI,” Hervey said. “I was pleased to see so much pride during those 24 hours. The Anteater family has many reasons to feel proud.”
With engagement from UCI faculty, staff, alumni and friends, #UCIGivingDay was the second-most trending hashtag on Twitter, with more than 42.5 million impressions. Alumni celebrities Greg Louganis, Tina Berg, Elsa Ramon and Eloy Ortiz Oakley took to Twitter to spread the word and ask other UCI alumni to give back to their alma mater.
To encourage greater rates of alumni participation, the UCI Alumni Association issued a challenge to all alumni chapters to see which could bring in the most gifts to support scholarships.
Other highlights of the day included a generous donation from the estate of former faculty member Christian Werner to fund graduate student research and scholarship in the School of Social Sciences and several dollar-for-dollar matching gifts to double the impact in specific areas, such as the UC Irvine Diabetes Center, financial aid, the Campuswide Honors Program, the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and assistance for first-generation college students.
In recent years, 24-hour online “giving days” have grown in popularity within the UC system. Not only do they encourage philanthropy in a fun and competitive way, but they also increase alumni participation and help offset the limitations of state and federal support.
The strategic plan UCI released last year aims to make the university more self-sustaining by promoting a culture of philanthropy on campus, instilling an “Anteaters for life” ethos through campaigns like Giving Day, and making fundraising central to academic planning and leadership.