Alumni and friends of West Virginia University made over 5,000 gifts totaling $11.9 million Wednesday during the university’s fourth Day of Giving, setting new records for the 24-hour online fundraising event held across the university system.
The final numbers surpassed $11.3 million raised and over 4,000 gifts in 2019, the last time the event was held.
This year’s theme, “A Stronger Tomorrow,” reflected the importance of private support in moving the university forward — and ensuring students can proceed with their education — amid the economic challenges of a pandemic and decreased public funding.
“Once again, our alumni and friends have shown incredible loyalty for West Virginia University, our health system and WVU Medicine Children’s in particular,” President Gordon Gee said. “During these turbulent times, their unwavering support is a crucial factor in helping to ensure that future generations are able to have the same Mountaineer experience and education they received.”
The larger gifts made on Day of Giving included a $1.75 million gift from alumni Jim and Marsha Blair for student scholarships at WVU and WVU Potomac State College; a $1.7 million commitment from James G. Faller to the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources for chemical engineering scholarships; and a $1.27 million gift from William “Mick” Knowles Jr. benefiting the WVU Cancer Institute.
Several participation gifts at the college/school/unit level helped to make the day a success as did several social media participation challenges.
“It’s unbelievable to see how the WVU family joined together, especially in light of the pandemic, and made the fourth WVU Day of Giving our biggest and most successful yet,” said Kristen Shipp, who led the effort for the WVU Foundation. “The generosity from the WVU community has made us stronger — thank you!”
WVU Day of Giving was focused on raising private dollars for the university’s greatest priorities and opportunities, including scholarships and unrestricted funds at the university and unit-specific level. The event also included WVU Health Sciences and the regional campuses in Keyser and Beckley.
Previously held in November, the event was moved to the spring as WVU Foundation officials explored ways to advance the university.
Since the first one in 2017, the four Days of Giving combined have raised more than $32 million to benefit WVU students and programs, with over 15,000 gifts made.
The foundation and university used email and social media to spread the word to alumni and supporters about the special day of giving. An online donation page was set up at https://dayofgiving.wvu.edu as an easy way for people to make a gift online.
The foundation — a nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the university — continues to provide scholarship support for students in need via “We Are Stronger Together,” a special fundraising initiative launched to assist those affected by the pandemic with educational expenses.