On Wednesday April 4, The University of Connecticut Foundation will be holding “UConn Gives,” a day for donations to UConn from alumni, students, parents, staff, faculty and friends.
UConn Gives provides an opportunity for donations to the university, the UConn Foundation’s Director of Engagement and Acquisition Jen Doak-Mathewson said.
“It’s a really exciting time because you know we’re a large university and it’s an opportunity for us to celebrate all aspects of UConn,” Doak-Mathewson said. “Our focus is really to help increase the amount of people who give to UConn…It’s really about showing our collective spirit and pride with a gift.”
This is one of the broadest fundraising initiatives the UConn Foundation has hosted, Doak-Mathewson said. Most other initiatives, like UConn Ignite or Transform Lives, are focused on specific funds or sets of funds.
“The difference between what we do in those initiatives and what we are doing for the giving day is that the giving day is focused on all initiatives,” Doak-Mathewson said, “So it’s a way to highlight everything that might not be part of another fundraising initiative and that can also get lifted up with broad-based outreach.”
A lot of the donations come from students, faculty, staff and alumni. Many UConn academic departments have been encouraging faculty to participate in the event, Doak-Mathewson said.
“We have several departments, I believe, who are running staff challenges to see if we can get 80, 90, 100 percent staff participation within a certain department,” Doak-Mathewson said. “That’s really inspiring to see.”
UConn Gives also draws from the support of UConn sports fans and others who have a tie to the university. People who feel connected to UConn Nation like to show that by giving, Doak-Mathewson said.
“The fact that you have all of UConn Nation behind you and showing that pride and spirit during these 36 hours is a powerful thing, and it’s pretty inspirational,” Doak-Mathewson said.
There are also featured projects, which are funds within the university that have reached out to the Foundation to become more involved. UConn Gives will feature 75 of those projects, Doak-Mathewson said.
“They are reaching out to their networks who are sharing that particular project with their friends and family and on social media,” Doak-Mathewson said. “People can donate to anything, but we do have active, participating projects who are doing a little more in terms of outreach.
The UConn Foundation hopes for this event to have a direct impact on students, Doak-Mathewson said. Giving days are a concept that many other universities have also adopted, and it appears to be an effective method of fundraising, she said.
“We’re raising funds for students at UConn so that they can have an excellent student experience,” Doak-Mathewson said. “I mean, you look at all of those projects and it’s so students can go to conferences, so they can get research opportunities they might not necessarily have.”
Another large part of the initiative is the idea of ‘paying it forward’ to future UConn students, Doak-Mathewson said. Students will be able to donate in person on the day of UConn Gives, April 4.
“Anyone is welcome to visit us,” Doak-Mathewson said. “We’ll be on Fairfield Way in the morning, offering Sweet Madeline’s Donuts and coffee, as well as some really nice socks available for a donation…then in the afternoon, if you give a gift of any amount, you’ll get a coupon for Dairy Bar ice cream.”
EllieAnn Lesko is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can reached via email at email@example.com.