Employee Giving Month came roaring back after a hiatus for the pandemic last year, bringing in robust numbers of participants and gifts across both the Davis and Sacramento campuses.
Some 2,200 employees participated, donating a total 3,601 gifts amounting to $257,765 – up from 1,829 participants and 2,811 gifts in 2019.
Kate Shasky, co-chair of the Employee Giving Committee, is thankful for a show of support that exceeded a quarter-million dollars.
“Even after taking a year off, the caring and giving nature of our faculty and staff continues to spread,” Shasky said. “People across campus are finding more areas of need, more areas of support and passion, and more ways to contribute to the success of UC Davis.”
Employee Giving Month, April, encompasses Give Day, which includes an “early giving” campaign that opens in mid-March.
Challenge gifts key to success
Give Day (April 16-17) shattered records by nearly $1 million — and employee giving was part of that success. Employees fueled several challenge gifts, pledged amounts that “unlock” with a predetermined number of gifts of any size.
They included a first-ever challenge gift put forth by the Employee Giving Committee. Their $5,000 challenge attracted 500 gifts totaling $49,000, raising $54,000 in all.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE CAMPAIGN
“Setting up a challenge gift encourages folks to give to whatever extent they can, even if it’s a modest amount,” said committee co-chair William Garrity. “I’m super pleased by our colleagues’ participation on Give Day and during Employee Giving Month overall.”
In another employee-backed effort, a $7,500 challenge from the UC Davis Emeriti and Retirees’ Association Boards attracted 55 gifts, raising a total $12,000 for the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center.
This year the campaign focused special attention on the Staff Emergency Fund, which provides quick cash assistance to employees struggling to pay for housing, utilities, medical emergencies and other critical needs. Established last fall, the fund was in such demand — providing more than $30,000 in assistance to nearly 40 employees — that it quickly needed replenishment.
“Thanks to people’s generosity during Give Day and Employee Giving Month, we are much closer to reactivating the fund,” said Christine Lovely, chief human resources officer. “We are moved and deeply grateful for how our fellow employees and others in the community pulled together to support it.”
But Employee Giving Month is not only about giving money – it’s also about giving thanks. To that end, a dozen randomly selected employee donors were offered gift bags throughout the month in honor of “Grati-Tuesday.” The bags containing Give Day T-shirts and other UC Davis swag were delivered to recipients’ homes or offices while observing social distancing.
Employee donors were also invited to share their giving stories, with photos, to create inspiring pieces that appeared on the Give Day website’s employee giving page.
Joan Fischer is a senior writer for the Annual and Special Gifts Program in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, and can be reached by email or at 530-754-0482.