Love Pours In for a Record-Breaking Giving Day
By Christine Vaughan
CSUSM broke Giving Day records last week, raising $457,193 in just 24 hours – making it the highest single day of collective giving in university history.
“I am awestruck by the generosity of so many,” said Jessica Berger, vice president for University Advancement. “We are grateful for everyone who helped make Giving Day such a resounding success, one that will have an immediate and lasting impact on our campus community.”
Now in its seventh year at CSUSM, Giving Day is part of Giving Tuesday, an international day focused on philanthropy. This year’s Giving Day surpassed the previous record in 2018, when Fox Russell surprised the university with a $100,000 gift in honor of his late parents, bringing the total that year to $448,955.
On Tuesday, Nov. 30, nearly 1,500 people – including alumni, employees, students, parents, friends and sponsors – rallied to support 104 campus projects and initiatives.
Presenting sponsor North City jumpstarted the day with a $25,000 Power Hour, which was met within an impressive 30 minutes. SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union provided a $10,000 employee match, and 17 funds were able to accelerate their giving thanks to frontline matches.
- ASI Cougar Pantry clinched the first win of Giving Day with the Midnight Challenge.
- EOP earned a Golden Bonus, adding $2,000 to support their students.
- The LGBTQA Faculty Staff Association earned one of the five coveted Golden Bonuses, funded by double alumnus Nathaniel Keifer-Wheals ('09, '21).
- A social media post using #HeartofaCougar earned ACE Scholars Services an extra $500.
- Men's Soccer dashed away with a challenge win, thanks to the Alumni Happy Hour Challenge.
Foundation Board chair Steve Wagner, his wife Laura, and director Nathaniel Keifer-Wheals (‘09, ‘21) generously funded 23 challenge gifts and bonuses. A unique and beloved part of CSUSM’s Giving Day, challenges add a friendly competition to the day, as donors strategize to hopefully turn their gift into a $1,000 or even $2,000 surprise donation to the fund that they support. CSUSM’s Dreamer Resource Office and women’s cross country and track tied as the biggest challenge winners with each receiving $4,500.
Enthusiasm surged in the afternoon when an anonymous donor, inspired by the spirit of Giving Day, pledged a $50,000 dollar-for-dollar match.
Two new endowed scholarships were established on Giving Day: the Marilyn J. McWilliams Spirit of Inclusive Excellence Scholarship and Dorothy Igei Endowed Scholarship, a $50,000 scholarship honoring the late mother of Tina Bell, who serves an associate vice president in University Advancement, is a proud parent of a CSUSM alumna, and will be retiring at the end of the year.
Additional highlights from the day included:
- CSUSM received 2,149 total gifts.
- One in five gifts was made by alumni.
- Students continued to show their love for CSUSM by making 360 gifts.
- 90% of all gifts received were less than $250.
- 68 ambassadors helped spread the word and brought in a collective $36,386 from their personal networks.
- More than 2,500 students cast their vote through the CougarBot challenge, crowning the ASI Cougar Pantry with an additional $1,000 award.
Did you miss your chance to donate during Giving Day? You can still make a meaningful impact on the program you love. Give today!
Know a CSUSM project that needs funding? Connect with the Office of Annual Giving to launch a Cougar Crowdfunding project.
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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