From 7 a.m. March 27 to 7 p.m. March 28, University of Connecticut supporters can make a monetary gift of any amount to their favorite causes at any campus, UConn Law, UConn Health, learning communities, athletics, scholarships or the Students First Fund, a fund that donates to students who have experienced an unanticipated hardship, Jen Doak-Mathewson, director of Engagement & Acquisition at the UConn Foundation, said.
UConn Gives is a 36-hour donation period that allows people to give money towards anything with a University of Connecticut affiliation, Doak-Mathewson said.
This is the second year of UConn Gives. In the inaugural year, UConn Gives generated more than $260,000 from more than 2,220 donors.
Donations can also be to a specific college, department, club, student group or research area, according to the UConn Gives website.
The UConn Foundation makes sure that all the gifts are used for the intention the donor wants, Doak-Mathewson said.
“Many funds go towards various needs within that department. For example, a gift to the department of chemistry could go towards lab equipment, conferences, research projects or any other chemistry-related need,” she said. “We are vigilant about making sure the purpose of the fund is clear, and that concrete examples of where your gift can make an impact, are part of the message.”
Donations can be made online, through text, in person or by check, Doak-Mathewson said. For the in-person events at all campuses, there will be a breakfast and free gifts given to people who participate.
“Some of the thank-you items we’ll be offering in-person are for gifts of a certain dollar level—so donors who give $10, for example, could receive a pair of socks, while donors who make a $5 gift could receive a laptop decal or water bottle,” Doak-Mathewson said.
In addition, there is a match challenge that allows other donors to double someone else’s initial gift, Doak-Mathewson said. Someone can match dollar-for-dollar, making a donation of $50 to $100. Another challenge is trying to unlock gifts for specific funds if they reach a certain number of donors.
“Participating in these challenges is a great way to help your gift go even further,” Doak-Mathewson said.
During the 36-hour period, social media challenges, using #UConnGives, allow people to actively participate in the day without donating.
“Challenges range from captioning a GIF that @UConnAlumni accounts share to tagging us in a photo of your pet wearing UConn gear,” Doak-Mathewson said. “We’ll pick one participant at random for each challenge, and that person will get a UConn gift pack and the ability to designate $100 towards the fund of their choice.”
Doak-Mathewson said the event’s success stems from personal connections donors have to the university.
“Maybe you received a scholarship, benefited from a learning community or participated in a program that helped you transition from high school to college,” she said. “Maybe you received a stethoscope donated by someone when they entered medical school and want to pay it forward. It could be that you want to show their pride as a UConn student, alum, faculty or staff member, or fan.”
The idea behind UConn Gives is to create a way to celebrate everything that happens on UConn campuses, Doak-Mathewson said.
“It’s a way for UConn Nation to rally together to give to causes they care about,” she said. “The goal here is to show the true strength of the community and the collective change we can create in a short period of time.”
A donation can be made by going to the UConn Gives website, mailing a check to The UConn Foundation, Inc. 2390 Alumni Dr., Unit 3206, Storrs, CT 06269-3206, over the phone at 800-269-9965 or texting uconngives to 41444.
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.