First UA Giving Day a monumental success

The first University of Alaska Giving Day, 49 hours for the 49th state, was a tremendous  success. The social media fundraising event started at noon Oct. 20 and ended at 1 p.m. Oct. 22. The results were rewarding and demonstrated wide support for the university.

Approximately 1,100 individuals donated more than $672,600 dollars in support of students, university programs, research, athletics, and scholarships. Participants included those from 47 states across the U.S. and 9 countries. There were 900 alumni donors, 400 employees of the UA system, 94 parents of current students, and 35 students who supported the philanthropic effort.

UA’s Giving Day, the first-ever for the system, was a collaborative effort between the UA Foundation and the three university development offices, colleges, athletic departments and communications teams. Staff worked together on a fundraising website, a video with students from each campus, and other new initiatives. Everyone worked together toward a common goal for this social media-based effort, and the UA Foundation looks forward to this becoming an annual event for UA.

The Foundation Board and Development Committee focused on engaging businesses and securing challenge grants. Staff secured more than $300,000 dollars in matching gifts from many businesses and individuals. The event was a huge opportunity to engage more donors and the community, and to increase brand awareness within and outside the state.

The UA Foundation chose to launch a unique Giving Day, separate from the global Giving Tuesday celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving day. On the official Giving Tuesday next month, the UA Foundation will be focusing on sharing messages of gratitude.

The excitement that the event generated, and the outpouring of support from the community, will greatly benefit the university and Alaska for years to come.