The University of California, Irvine’s second annual Giving Day on April 25 raised over $4 million – more than doubling last year’s $1.4 million. This year’s Giving Day also set new records for the number of gifts received, number of parent donors, number of donor-sponsored matches and challenges, and number of states represented in the donor pool.
“UCI Giving Day was an astounding success because of our vibrant – and growing – community of supporters,” said Brian Hervey, vice chancellor of university advancement & alumni relations. “Year after year, our campus partners and donors choose to make a difference by investing in UCI, and Giving Day provides them with a platform to make a meaningful and far-reaching impact.”
Throughout this year’s Giving Day, nearly 50 online matches and challenges, special on-campus events and real-time updates generated enthusiasm and encouraged philanthropic giving. By the end of the day, UCI had received more than 2,600 gifts from donors in 40 states and eight countries to support important projects and programs ranging from pioneering Alzheimer’s disease research to “mini scholarships” for arts students.
Those numbers significantly surpass the university’s inaugural effort in 2017, which saw about 1,600 benefactors from 30 states and nine countries give $1.4 million during the same 24-hour time period.
“UCI Giving Day was an incredible day of philanthropy,” said Julie Hill, chair of the UCI Foundation board of trustees. “It was also an opportunity for our trustees, alumni, students, staff, faculty and friends to engage with the university and celebrate our Anteater spirit.”
Support from alumni played an especially important role in the success of the online, social media-driven campaign. Online endorsements by prominent alumni such as four-time Olympic gold medal-winning diver Greg Louganis and KCBS/KCAL news anchor Elsa Ramon helped boost excitement, while a UCI Alumni Association chapterwide challenge generated friendly competition among different alumni chapters. As the university prepares for its next comprehensive fundraising campaign, alumni support will be critical to the continued success and future growth of the university.
Across social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – UCI Giving Day was a popular topic. With the help of UCI faculty, staff, alumni and friends, #UCIGivingDay was at one point the most trending hashtag on Twitter, with more than 70 million impressions – up from 42.5 million last year.
Many units throughout UCI and UCI Health claimed immense success this Giving Day with large dollar-for-dollar matching gifts and challenges. One was the School of Social Sciences, which for the second time received a generous donation from the estate of former faculty member Christian Werner to support graduate student research and scholarships.