In a matter of 24 hours on Thursday, the Cornell community and donors around the world raised almost $8 million dollars on Cornell’s fifth annual Giving Day, around $40,000 more than last year. The Department of Athletics and Physical Education was named the top receiver of donations this year, with gifts received totaling $2 million.
The Giving Day is a fundraising initiative that encourages students, faculty and alumni to donate to their “favorite areas of Cornell,” according to the event website. These “areas” can be any participating colleges, departments, programs and student and alumni organizations.
This Giving Day set new records for both dollar amount and amount of donors with 13,858 donors giving 18,966 gifts totaling over $7.8 million across Cornell, according to Fred Van Sickle, vice president for alumni affairs and development.
“These funds allow colleges and units to take immediate action on their top priorities for the year, from providing student and faculty support to investing in equipment and facilities needs,” Van Sickle told The Sun.
The event’s online presence also allowed donors from any location to participate in challenges that add money to donations based on criteria such as being the first gift or receiving donations from 50 countries, according to the Giving Day website.
Aside from reaching out to community members via email, for the second time, some organizations — such as the LGBTQ Alumni Association and Asian American Alumni Association — also tabled in the Memorial Room of Willard Straight Hall to receive donations.
At Willard Straight Hall, students were able to donate to their colleges, student groups and sign up for alumni listservs in order to receive emails about future activities. The event also allowed students to write thank you notes to donors in return for a free Giving Day T-shirt.
For Van Sickle and Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, Giving Day is more than just a fundraiser. According to them, it also raises morale and generates a sense of unity throughout Cornell’s community of both current students and alumni.
“Alumni who don’t have the means to support the institution financially still play an important role,” Lombardi told The Sun.
“When I watch Giving Day tallies climb — especially the large increase in the number of donors and gifts — I see a strong indicator of the deep affection we all feel for Cornell. No wonder this is such a popular effort,” Van Sickle said.